Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Most Arunacha-lees know about Ashok Chakra late Hangpan Dada. There are also many patriots and heroes from Arunachal who have displayed extraordinary courage and bravery fighting terrorists for our nation. The heroic deeds of these Arunachalee soldiers are unknown to many readers. One such story is the story of Lance Naik Patey Tassuk, Sena Medal and Bar (Posthumous) who hailed from Banderdewa, the gateway to Arunachal’s capital Itanagar. Lance Naik Patey Tassuk belonged to the 17 Guards Regiment, and was serving in the 21 Rashtriya Rifles since 7 October, 2010.
15-16 June 2011. On 15 June 2011, Lance Naik Patey Tassuk was part of a team assigned to raid a terrorist hideout in the Krumhur forest area near Kupwara in Kashmir. He and his buddy officer eliminated a foreign terrorist in the ensuing operation. Later, on 16 June, during the same operation, his team was fired upon by another terrorist hiding behind a boulder. Tassuk rolled in thick bushes for about 25 metres to the flank under covering fire; he crawled amidst heavy fire to within five metres from the terrorist and charged the terrorist. He engaged the terrorist in a one-to-one firefight and killed the terrorist. For this operation, Lance Naik Patey Tassuk was awarded his first Sena Medal (Gallantry).
25 August 2011. About two months later, Lance Naik Patey Tassuk was detailed as scout of the Ghatak platoon tracking the movement of terrorists in Rajpur area of Kashmir. Leading his team at night, he observed suspicious movement of civilians at about 70 metres. He also spotted two suspicious individuals moving behind the civilians. Having ascertained that the suspicious individuals were terrorists, he allowed the civilians to cross without firing on the terrorists to avoid civilian casualties. After the civilians crossed, he challenged the terrorists and engaged the terrorists. Though the terrorists were eliminated, Patey Tassuk was hit on the head by a terrorist bullet and succumbed to his injuries. His initiative and sacrifice to avoid civilian casualties cost him his life. For this bravery, sacrifice and emulatory commitment, Lance Naik Patey Tassuk was awarded the second Sena Medal (Gallantry) posthumously.
Lance Naik Patey Tassuk was martyred defending the nation, and has left behind widow Ari and two young children.
These inspirational stories about Arunachalee soldiers fighting terrorists and defending the nation in faraway places must be told and narrated to the entire nation. More such stories of bravery and honour are waiting to be told. Salute to Shaheed Patey Tassuk! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)