In 2014, soon after ordination of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India, a distressing news came from the LOC, a recidivist Pakistan had carried out a dastardly attack on the Indian troops and had beheaded two of our brave jawans, the news spread like wildfire and every single citizen of this country was enraged by the audacity of the attacks, people demanded retribution, little did they know that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already given his assent for a punitive cross border raid. Orders were categorical! Find and eliminate those who were responsible for the attacks and this onerous responsibility fell on the shoulders of the most elusive ghost unit of INDIA.
This is the real account of the revenge raid and is dedicated to Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh who were avenged.
It was a cold winter morning, somewhere near the LOC in the Medhar area in Poonch sector. The area is a heavily vegetated jungle making the visibility very low, as if things were not bad enough, a thick fog engulf the whole area, bringing down the visibility to near zero. In such conditions at January 8, 2013, eight soldiers belonging to the 13 Rajputana Rifles were carrying out an area domination patrol (ADP), in two escort parties including 6 jawans on back side and two on the front about 600 meters inside the LOC, fence on the LoC in that particular area is built 2 Kms inside the Indian territory, as a result of which the Pakistani troops did not have to cross any obstacle to enter the Indian territory.
As the jawans were carrying out their routine, they were unaware that under the cover of thick fog and dense forest, a Pakistani BAT team comprising of terrorists and Pakistani Army special forces had already infiltrated the area and laid an ambush on their known route of patrol and were waiting for them.
The Indian Army patrolling party came under a heavy volley of automatic fire and grenades blasts as they entered the kill zone of the ambush area set by the Pakistani BAT, which had laid a trap for them. As per the training and their natural instinct the two Indian army jawans who were leading the patrol, rushed ahead and fired back, bearing the brunt of the attack and saving the rest of the group. Providing enough time and cover to the remaining patrolling party to move out of the kill zone. An intense firefight ensued for the next 30 minutes, after which there was a lull in firing.
At that moment, the rear patrol party of 6 jawans came out of the cover and moved towards the kill zone, where it had all started. As they moved forward, they were shocked to see the two dead bodies of the Indian jawans, Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh who were leading the patrol party. To their dismay the enemy had slit the throats of both the soldiers in a brutal manner and their bodies were badly mutilated. The Pakistani BAT team had chopped off the heads of both the dead bodies of Indian Jawans and carried over one head to their side as a trophy.
This news was soon out in open, there was a great clamour over it in the media. The whole nation was grieved and full of rage and was angry at this act of Pakistan. Temper and emotions ran high for few days, family of one of the martyred soldier demanded for the severed head of their son to be handed over to the family. This was not possible as the head has been taken across the LOC and Pakistan had blatantly denied of carrying out such an attack, as part of its usual SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
The aggravate family of the martyred soldiers was pacified by the Government by handing over some perks, financial assistance to them and a promise of revenge for the deaths and mutilation of the two brave jawans. The Indian Army vowed an appropriate response to the despicable act. After sometime as it happens often, this matter subsides and slowly fades away from the memory of the general public as well as the government at the centre.
But this time things were different, a new Government was in power. Army chief was summoned by the highest echelons of power in Delhi, somewhere in a secured location the chief presented a briefing about the army preparedness and its future plans to a small coterie. He was asked to convey the immediate requirement of the armed forces. The chief put forward few requests along with the request to be granted the operational freedom, which was granted to him. As the meeting neared its end, there was a request made by the highest chair in the meeting, the incident of the particular decapitation carried out by the Pakistani BAT was still fresh in his mind, which is mentioned above, he wanted it to be avenged .All the persons present there obliged to the request. A decision was made then and there to punish the main culprit behind the beheading and to seek revenge of the decapitation of our soldiers.
Surveillance was carried out through various means air, ground, IT and signals etc. Terrorists chatter were monitored and decoded, their movement was tracked and assets across the LOC were activated. A particular house, in a small Pakistani village of Rajouri district, just across the LOC was zeroed in. It was found that this particular house was frequented by Anwar. A local unit of the army at LOC was told to keep an eye on that house, as it was visible from our side of the Locate house was kept on constant vigil through various means, day and night. Intelligence assets were activated and the exact date and time at which Anwar was expected to visit that house was found out. It was decided to carry out the op on that given date.
The Team –
The task to take him out was given to an extremely elite group of men, whose only sign of existence are the trails of destruction they leave behind their playground. These men were highly skilled in their work and ruthless in nature. Anwar was a sadist in nature who used to enjoy all types of violent acts, but he had no idea that he was about to come across those the people who live and breathe violence. The main assault team was kept to minimum, a mission oriented small team, which is the most that is required to unleash hell at any given time and place. We can’t reveal the name of the unit or force but it is sufficed to say that they were India’s very own Gods of War. The very same unit which does not exist, about whom you will never hear, which carries out bad things in bad places on daily basis, far from any limelight or any kind of recognition.
Sometime before the due date, some member of the assault team crossed the LOC for a recon mission. They were loaded for more than a day and were carrying all the necessary equipment along with their ration. The recon party was heavily camouflaged, with camo painted all over their face and wearing ghillie suits over their bodies, they blended in and become a part of the Jungle which was spread all across that area.
Soon they were around the house which was zeroed in to carry out the mission, they located a vantage point, across that house and started the recce. They were equipped with a variety of equipment to carry out their task. A close vigil was kept at that house, the occupants, number of rooms, their layout, all the movement and pattern both in and around that house was closely observed for few days.
A kill zone was decided and a map was drawn of the area where all the action would to take place. Powerful scopes and cameras were used to draw detailed maps, diagrams, blueprints of structures in the village, INFIL and EXFIL routes which provided excellent natural concealment through the terrain features and would easily allow a small body of men to move undetected were planned and marked. During all this time, they only changed their position once.
They monitored the area for patterns of enemy movement and collected technical information-all while surviving the natural elements and staying out of sight of the locals and Pakistani forces in the area. After carrying out the recce and stalking of the target house and the village the recon team quietly ex-filled and returned back to their base, leaving behind no trace of their presence in that area. With all the information gathered by the recon mission and from various other sources at their hand, the team commander laid out a plan to carry out the raid. The mission was a ‘go’.
Getting ready –
On the due date, preparation for the raid began. Surprise and shock are basic element for a successful raid, for this you have to become a part of the terrain, use concealment and deception, approach unseen and remain hidden within striking distance of the enemy. The area where they were going to operate was densely vegetated and it was going to be dark. To exploit the terrain to their maximum advantage, the team members got dressed in a woodland pattern combat dress, painted their faces and hands black, which would help them to melt away into the surrounding.
Weapons of their choice were, a Pikka which is a 7.62×54 mm general purpose machine gun, an extremely reliable and effective weapon whenever you want to rain down heavy fire on your enemies .PSG 1, a 7.62×51 mm semi-automatic sniper rifle designed by the German company Heckler & Koch, an extremely accurate and efficient rifle to engage and take down threats from a distance. Then there was a mix of tavor TAR 21 and M4, these are 5.56x45mm assault rifles apt for carrying out swift fire assault and CQB (close quarter battle). All of these were the primary weapons and were equipped with night and thermal scopes.Beside these there were pistols as secondary, for times when it is too close for comfort.
Then there were claymore mines and grenades-to blow things up when required. Each of them was carrying a secure radio set along with tactical headsets, to ensure secure and clear communication. They also had night vision goggles and handheld thermal cameras. Apart from these they had certain items, which cannot be revealed here due to its CLASSIFIED NATURE.
With all the things in place and one last check of the weapons and gear the team gathered for the final briefing. After going through the map, plan and the call signs for the one last time, the team of elite predators was all set to carry out their task.
This was going to be a night operation, set in a cold winter night. By the time predators set out for the hunt, it was already dark. The LoC does not run in a straight line but creates geographical avenues, jutting into opposing territory. The terrain consists of mountains abruptly intersected by deep, steep sited valleys, rides, deep gorges and is characterized by thick forests and undergrowth in pockets, limiting visibility to the bare minimum. Unlike the Indian side the Pakistani side does not have any fencing, have very few number of post as well as troop deployment and carries out very little patrolling along the Locate reason behind this is not only the limited resources of Pakistan but also because unlike India they do not have the danger of hostile terrorist crossing over to their side to create mayhem, terrorist movement is one way out of Pakistan. However, this imparity in troop deployment is fully exploited by Indian special forces, which get an easy access to that side of the LOC.
The infiltration was done on foot, as it is the best mode to infiltrate maintaining stealth and surprise. The team was skilful in their use of camouflage, silent movement by night, and movement along the hill. They were accustomed to carrying heavy loads and travelling long distances on foot in form of speed marches, still the cold, wind, and steep terrain overgrown in places with thick vegetation made the trek a test of endurance and skill. Prior reconnaissance and marking of the INFIL route had already been carried out by them, they had thorough knowledge of the terrain and disposition of the Pakistani forces.
Moreover they were ace hunters, who had honed their skills in the art of stealth, tracking and recognizing signs in the jungle. Which enabled them to detect the men or animals moving through jungle, presence of a concealed enemy, enabled them to move without leaving signs of their passage and to avoid mines or booby traps. The team made their way through thick vegetation and broken terrain in complete darkness and finally made it to their planned hideout spot ,which was marked earlier during the recon. The hideout was located on a hill overlooking the target village ,behind the enemy lines.
This is Part One of the two part series on the Revenge Raid conducted by the Indian Army on Pakistani Soil