India lost a brave soldier and an ace shooter in the Pathankot terror attack when Subedar Major Fateh Singh was martyred fighting militants who had tried to storm the airbase yesterday. Singh was an international shooter who had brought glory to India by winning gold and silver in big bore shooting (300m) at the first Commonwealth Shooting Championship in New Delhi in 1995. Part of the Army's Marksmanship Unit in Mhow, he used to mentor young shooters.
Fateh Singh had retired from the 15 Dogra regiment in 2009 and then joined the Defence Service Corps in which he was initially posted at the Army War College in Mhow. He was posted to Pathankot two years ago, reported Indian Express.
Another DSC personnel, Havaldar Kulwant Singh was martyred yesterday during the pre-dawn strike on the Pathankot airbase by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists who intended to destroy fighter jets in the airbase.
As Dainik Bhaskar reported, honorary captain Fateh Singh and Havaldar Kulwant Singh were on duty guarding the airbase when the militants tried to infiltrate it. A gun-battle ensued which lasted for 20 minutes during which Fateh Singh and Kulwant Singh managed to kill the two terrorists but succumbed to their own injuries. First, Kulwant Singh fell to the ground, gravely injured, after which Fateh Singh managed to kill both the terrorists. The police and the army learned the location of the terrorists only after the latter attacked the CSD canteen gate near Tajpur village.
Remembering Fateh Singh, his juniors and colleagues spoke highly of him. Former chief coach of Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) Col MS Chauhan told the Hindustan Times , “Fateh was not only an ace big bore shooter, but also a dedicated, brave and daring soldier of the Dogra Regiment.”
“Fateh Singh was one of the senior shooters when I started shooting in the 1990s. And he won medals at the international level regularly. 1995 was my debut year in shooting when he won the medals in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Delhi and I remember meeting him at that time. It’s a sad moment for his family and all shooters. We will remember him as a helping and respectable senior,” Suma Shirur, the 2002 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games medalist shooter, told The Indian Express.
Fateh Singh is survived by his wife Madhu Bala and two sons, Gurdeep Singh Deepu and Nitin Thakur. Deepu is presently serving in the 15 Dogra regiment, reported Hindustan Times.
Havaldar Kulwant Singh is survived by mother Swarn Kaur, wife Harbhajan Kaur and two sons — Surinder Singh and Gursharan Singh. When villagers learnt the news of the martyrs’ death, they went to their houses to offer condolences to their grieving families.
Defending the Pathankot airbase, DSC Fateh Singh, Havaldar Kulwant Singh, Jagdish Singh, Sanjeev Kumar, Gursevar Karpoor and AIF commando Kartar were martyred.
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