From foiling a robbery in Arunachal Pradesh and fighting militancy in J&K to facing Pakistani Army tanks in the 1965 war armed with just .303 rifles and nabbing Ajmal Kasab during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the stories of courage and sacrifice of over 34,000 policemen, since 1947, will be etched in stone Sunday at the unveiling of the National Police Memorial.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the memorial in Chanakyapuri on October 21 observed as police commemoration day. The design was conceptualised by the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA)’s Advaita Gadanayak and includes a 30-feet-tall granite pillar, weighing 238 tonnes, procured from Khammam district of Telangana.
Other than this central sculpture, the memorial has a Wall of Valour, engraved with the names of police personnel. “A 60-feet-long river flowing at the base of the sculpture was painstakingly drawn up by architects and skilled workmen in 11 months. The weight, the solidity and the singularity of the art-piece reflect the burden of carrying all brave martyred police personnel on our shoulders, at one time,” says the concept note on National Police Memorial.
At the event Sunday, the Prime Minister will also unveil the country’s first national police museum, depicting the history and uniform and gear of central and state police forces, which is part of an underground facility at the memorial premises. The museum project is being steered by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in coordination with central armed police forces (CAPFs).
The custom to observe October 21 as police commemoration day started with a decision to pay homage to ten policemen killed in an ambush by Chinese troops in 1959 in Ladakh’s Hot Spring area. Several police and CAPF personnel who died in the line of duty are also remembered on the occasion.
Ashish Kumar Tiwary, barely in his late twenties, was the lone Shaurya Chakra awardee for the CRPF in 2011. A native of Jharkhand, CRPF commando Tiwary was engaged to gather intelligence on the presence of Maoist Commander Sidhu Soren in West Midnapur in 2010. Later, he spearheaded the raid on a Maoist hideout with a strength of 40-50 Naxals. Tiwary and his team gunned down Soren but he died after suffering grievous injuries.
A Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC) policeman showed exemplary courage when they took on Pakistani Army during the 1965 war. Pakistan’s Army had attacked and infiltrated into Indian Territory through Jaisalmer at a time when the RAC guarded the country’s borders.
Then, one section of RAC personnel with .303 rifles and limited ammunition stood against thousands of Pakistani Army soldiers supported by tanks, shielded vehicles and heavy artillery. Under heavy artillery fire, the RAC mounted a courageous response and fought to the end.
It is among the rare incidents when so many police personnel made the supreme sacrifice while defending the country’s honour. The RAC personnel killed were Sohan Singh, Kripal Singh, Budh Singh, Lakh Ram, Pema Ram, Sujan Singh and three head constables: Umapati, Samundar Singh, Jagat Singh. The daring acts of the RAC are mention in an incident on December 2, 1965, when a platoon took on dacoits in the Chambal region in which the platoon commander and six RAC constables died. Also mentioned is Dhanwade Ravindra Baban, a CRPF commando from Maharashtra, who was sent to in Kashmir after the killing of Burhan Wani.
On August 26, 2017, three terrorists entered the District Police Line (DPL), Pulwama that housed over 400 families and is spread over 100 acres. Baban and his team took on three militants but finally fell to Armour Piercing Incendiary (API) bullets, used by the terrorists for the first time.