New Delhi: Bhairon Singh Rathore, a BSF veteran and hero of the 1971 India-Pakistan War, died in Jodhpur Monday at the age of 81.
The Border Security Force (BSF) tweeted a condolence message saying, “The brave heart took his last breath at AIIMS, Jodhpur, today.” Lance Naik Rathore served in the 14th BSF unit during the war and retired from service in 1987.
The BSF veteran’s bravery at Rajasthan’s Longewala post during the war was portrayed by actor Suniel Shetty in the Bollywood movie ‘Border’.
According to official records, the operations room of 12 Infantry division had received a telegram, warning that Pakistan may launch a huge offensive and raid the border outpost on 3 or 4 December, 1971.
Around 6 am on 5 December 1971, an enemy brigade, led by a regiment of T-59 tanks, launched an attack on Longewala, Rajasthan. After supported strikes by the Indian Air Force, a company under the leadership of Lance Naik Rathore was sent.
According to the records, Rathore took his light machine gun and inflicted heavy casualties, forcing the Pakistani Army to retreat.
In recognition of his bravery, Rathore was awarded the Sena Medal in 1972.
Tributes pour in
Upon his death Monday, tributes poured in from all quarters. Actor Shetty tweeted his heartfelt condolences to Rathore’s family.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Naik (Retd) Bhairon Singh Ji will be remembered for his service to our nation. He showed great courage at a crucial point in our nation’s history.”
Home Minister Amit Shah also paid his tributes, saying, “The flame of love and patriotism in his (Rathore’s) heart for the motherland was truly unique. His heroic saga will continue to inspire generations to come.”
Rathore’s mortal remains are being taken to STC (subsidiary training centre) BSF in Jodhpur for a wreath-laying ceremony. His remains will then be taken to his hometown in a village near Jodhpur, with military honours.
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