Service No : 15561346P
Date of Birth : May 26, 1978
Place of birth : Kolhapur Dist(Mah)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Sapper
Unit : 2 RR/111 Engr Regt
Arm/Regt : The Corps of Engineers
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Martyrdom : March 10, 2003
Sapper Uttam Shripati Desai hailed from Kaulage village in Gadhinglaj tehsil of Kolhapur district in Maharashtra and was born on 26 May 1978. Son of Shri Shripati Nanaji Desai and Smt Savitri Shripati Desai, he did his schooling from New English School, Kaulage up to class X and later went to Shivraj College, Gadhinglaj to complete his class XII. Though Sapper Uttam's father was not in favour of him joining the Army, he had a strong desire to serve in the Armed forces right from his childhood. Consequently, following his passion, he got selected and joined the Army on 06 Nov 1997 at the age of 19 years. He was recruited into 111 Engr Regt of the Corps of Engineers, the important combat support arm of Indian Army. He gradually developed into a dedicated and professionally competent soldier.
After completing his training, he got posted to Assam as his first assignment. Thereafter he served in Bhatinda in Punjab before moving to Srinagar in J&K. In the year 2000, he got married to Ms Manisha and the couple was blessed with a daughter Snehal. After serving for some time with his parent unit, he was deputed to serve with 2 Rashtriya Rifles deployed in the Baramulla district of Jammu & Kashmir for counter-insurgency operations.
Baramulla Operation (J&K):10 March 2003
During 2003, Spr Uttam Shripati Desai's unit 2 RR battalion was deployed in the Baramulla district of J&K along the LOC. The LOC was highly active and volatile where cease-fire violations occurred very often and without any warning. It was also used by the terrorists for infiltration with the connivance of Pakistani security forces. The infiltration by the terrorists was invariably attempted under the cover of artillery fire or with the help of Border Action Team(BAT). Based on the information from intelligence sources, about the presence of some hardcore terrorists in Buna Wanigam village of Baramulla district in J&K, the security forces launched a search and cordon operation on 10th Mar 2003. Spr Uttam Shripati Desai was part of the team that was assigned the task of conducting this operation.
The operation was launched in the wee hours of 10 Mar 2003 and continued for several hours. As the troops tightened the cordon around the suspected area, in Buna Wanigam village, the terrorists hiding in the village felt cornered and threatened. In an desperate attempt the terrorists hiding in a house in the village opened fire at the troops. As a result, a fierce gun battle erupted with the terrorists, who had resorted to indiscriminate firing. At around 1330 hrs in the ensuing heavy exchange of fire, Spr Uttam Shripati received multiple gunshots in his back, elbow and mouth and sustained grievous injuries. He later succumbed to his severe injuries and was martyred. Spr Uttam Shripati was a valiant and committed soldier, who laid down his life at the age of 25 years in the line of his duty.
Sapper Uttam Shripati Desai is survived by his wife Smt Manisha Uttam Desai and daughter Snehal Uttam Desai.