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Indo-Sino war martyr remnants found after 48 years

Remnants of a twenty-one-year-old soldier who died in in mortar firing, when Chinese launched an offensive in bordering Welong in Arunachal Pradesh on October 23, 1962, were recently recovered in Anjaw district in Arunchal.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2010 13:16 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times

Twenty one-year-old Karam Chand Katoch was amongst first batch of soldiers killed in mortar firing, when Chinese launched an offensive in bordering Welong in Arunachal Pradesh on October 23, 1962. But ironically his body remained buried under heaps of debris for fourty eight years.

From the history
On 22 October, at 12:15 am, PLA mortars fired on Walong, on the McMahon line. 400 PLA troops began firing on the Indians post there. Flares launched by Indian troops the next day revealed numerous Chinese milling around the valley. Indian forces tried to use their mortars against China but the PLA responded by lighting a bushfire, causing confusion amongst them. The Chinese forces eventually captured Walong at the cost of more than 200 dead or wounded; the Indian forces also suffered heavy casualties.

Remnants of the dead soldier were recently recovered in Anjaw district in Arunchal Pradesh. The labourers engaged by Border Roads Task Force for restoration of strategic Hayuliang-Walong border road recovered one disc badge, a silver ring and one rusted 303 ammunition having 46 Rounds. A high ranking official of the fourth Dogra told Hindustan Times that New Jalpaiguri West Bengal Officer in charge of the BRTF had forwarded the information to Deputy Commissioner Anjaw on July 1, after the labourers discovered ammunitions in Japak Nullah which witnessed heavy landslides in wake of heavy monsoon rain.

The local police of the Anjaw officials visited the spot to check the veracity of remnants. Army officials said that police did not find bones or other bodily remains at the site from where the badge bearing PIS No 3950976 was discovered. However, the police had contacted the army officials who confirmed that the badge belonged to Karam Chand Katoch a sepoy in the fourth Dogra, who figured in the list of martyrs.

After the mortar firing by Chinese troops, Karam Chand and 12 other members of his platoon went missing, nothing was known about their where about for the past five decades.

“It will take another two days for the body to reach Tinsukhia in Assam” said Colnel SK Singh of the fourth Dogra in Jalpaigudi.

“It was on July 3, that I received information from the fourth Dogra officials that some remains of my dead uncle had been found during the road digging” said Jaswant Singh Naik of Seema Shastra Bal, posted in Indo-Bhutan border. Jaswant who is currently on leave saidthat the family is preparing for last rites of Karam Chand Katoch. Remnants of Karam Chand would be handed over to the family on July 13 and his last rites will be performed with full military honour. Karam Chand Katoch was youngest in the family.

Martyr's father Kashmir Singh a farmer in his native Agochar village in Palampur subdivision passed away in 1985, while mother Gaytari Devi died five years after waiting to hear about his dead son. Jaswant Singh said that Karam Chand had joined army in 1959.

First Published: Jul 10, 2010 13:05 IST