The nation will pay homage to the policemen martyred in firing by Chinese troops in 1959 and 34,400 others who laid down their lives protecting India’s unity, at a special function in New Delhi on Saturday, the home ministry said on Friday. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will lead the nation to pay homage to 10 policemen besides 34,408 other police personnel, who have sacrificed their lives since independence to safeguard the unity and integrity of the nation.
Observed as ‘Police Commemoration Day’, October 21 commemorates the sacrifices of the 10 policemen while defending India’s borders with China in 1959, a statement by the ministry said. The Indian police personnel were responsible for manning the 2,500-mile long border of India with Tibet until the autumn of 1959. On October 20, 1959, three reconnaissance parties were launched from Hot Springs in North Eastern Ladakh in preparation for further movement of an Indian expedition which was on its way to Lanak La. While members of two parties returned to Hot Springs, the third one comprising two police constables and a porter did not return, the statement said.
The remaining forces were mobilised next morning in search of the missing personnel. A party of about 20 police personnel led by Karam Singh, a Deputy Central Intelligence Officer (DCIO) rank officer, proceeded on horseback while others followed on foot in three sections. At mid-day, the Chinese Army personnel were seen on a hillock who opened fire and threw grenades at the Indian party, the statement said. Since there was no cover, most personnel were injured. Ten of the brave police personnel attained martyrdom and seven others sustained injuries in the incident.
Bodies of the 10 personnel were returned by the Chinese on November 13, 1959, three weeks after the incident. The bodies were then cremated with full police honours at Hot Springs in Ladakh, it said. The annual conference of Inspectors General of Police of States and Union Territories held in January 1960 decided that October 21 would, henceforth, be observed as ‘Commemoration Day’ in all police lines in the country to mark the memory of these gallant personnel, the statement said.
It was also decided to erect a memorial at Hot Springs, and that members of police forces from different parts of the country trek to Hot Springs every year to pay homage to the gallant martyrs. Since independence, 34,418 police personnel have sacrificed their lives for safeguarding the integrity of the nation and providing security to people of this country, the statement said. During the last one year i.e. from September 2016 to August 2017, 383 police personnel have laid down their lives.