Nation pays homage to first PVC soldier of Independent India

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Srinagar, Nov 4 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha today led the nation in paying homage to martyrs of 1947, including Major Som Nath, the first soldier of independent India who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), the highest gallantry award.

After laying wreaths at the statue of Major Som Nath Sharma at the Srinagar Airport and Martyrs Memorial in the historic town of Budgam, the Governor recalled the role of the officer and the troops that landed in the Valley on October 27, 1947.

He said on this day about 60 years ago, the young officer laid down his life at Budgam and defeated the enemy's design of advancing towards Srinagar in 1947.

Gen Sinha gave a vivid account of 1947 operations in Budgam. He said Maj Sharma was keen to advance to ward Baramulla as the first company of Indian Army to take on the tribals, who had wreaked havoc in the border district by indulging in plunder and mayhem.

Maj Sharma was itching for action when he landed at Srinagar airport even though having a fractured arm.

Maj Sharma of 4 Kumaon Regiment, who was martyred fighting against the Pakistan-supported tribals from North Waziristan, became the first soldier of independent India to receive the PVC, the highest gallantry award, for his supreme sacrifice and outstanding gallantry in action.

Maj Sharma was the eldest son of an illustrious father Maj Gen A N Sharma who became the first Director of Medical Services of the Indian Army after Independence, and was the brother of two distinguished individuals -- Lt Gen S N Sharma, who retired as the Engineer-in-Chief and Gen V N Sharma, who retired as the Chief of Army Staff.

Throughout the second world war, he served with the Hyderabad Battalion, which had the distinction of taking part in the famous Kangaw battle in Arakan where Maj Sharma was awarded a mention-in-Dispatches.

Pakistan-aided tribals launched an attack on Kashmir which made the Maharaja to cede the Valley to the Union of India. Accordingly, the first batch of Indian troops landed in the State on October 27.

The D Company of 4 Kumaon, led by Maj Somnath Sharma, was airlifted to Srinagar on October 31. Even though the Major had one of his arm in plaster, he refused to stay back and joined his Company to fight the tribal aggression.

The 'Kabailis' resorted to guerrilla tactics to sneak into the Valley. But the induction of more troops enabled the Army to secure the area better.

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