Profiles: People Places

Haji Pir, 9am, 28 Aug 1965. Here is what happened next?

28th August 1965 was the historic day for the nation when the Indian forces under the command of Major Ranjeet Singh Dayal crossed ceasefire line, stormed on Haji Pir Pass (8600ft) at 9:00 am and captured the most important pass after hand to hand fighting with defenders and at 10:00 am he unfurled the Indian Tricolour on the pass. At that time this pass was linkingMirpur with Muzzafarabad by road and POK was cut into two parts due to fall of Haji Pir Pass. This was the biggest success during 1965 when the whole nation rejoiced after hearing this news. The nation was anxious to know about the happening in Kashmir after induction of infiltrators by Pakistan under Operation Gibraltar. On 16th August 1965 a procession, of about one lakh people had marched towards Parliaments in New Delhi demanding strong action against Pakistan. Accordingly due to public pressure, Prime Minister Lal Bhadur Shastri took bold decision, directed the forces to cross ceasefire line and capture important features in POK and plug the infiltrators root. Haji Pir Pass was the first target in Uri Poonch bulge to link Uri with Poonch by historic Uri Poonch road. There was no limit of joy of people of Uri and Poonch towns because now they were hoping the opening of historic Uri Poonch road.
After snatching Haji Pir Pass from Pakistan, the Indian forces continued their operation to link Uri with Poonch. Upto 10th September, the Uri column under the command of Brigadier Z. Chand Bakshi moved from Uri side and Brigadier Zora Singh from Poonch side and secured to 528 Sq Km area of Uri Poonch bulge by capturing Kahuta township, Chanjal village, renowned Aliabad Hill resort, Khoja Bandi, Sawan Pathri, Haji Pir Peak, Bedori Peak, Neza Pir Peak, Ladiwali Galli, Sankh, Sar and important feature Raja and Chand post on the top of Kahuta. 49 Kms historic Uri Poonch road was opened for traffic on 25th September as an alternate route to link Kashmir valley with Poonch and Rajouri. About 5000 natives of captured villages, Dhokas and Kahuta township also preferred to stay in their houses on this side because the trade center Poonch town was nearer to them and they were having their kith and K in on this side. With the capture of Uri Poonch bulge, Poonch the third municipality of J&K state had again attained its past glory and glamour.
Haji Pir area was strong hold of Pakistani forces. The Pass was dominated by three important Hill tops namely Bedori (3760 m) in the north, Ladiwali Galli (3140 m) in the north west and Sankh (2895 m) in the western side. The capture of these features was important for further movement towards Poonch area. 19 Infantry Division was made responsible to capture Haji Pir and move towards Poonch. 68 Brigade under the command of Brigadier Z. Chand Bakshi was entrusted the job under the code name Bakshi. The operation started from Uri side on 25th August. Troops of Major Ranjeet Singh Dayal’s Battalion moved towards Agiwas in the vicinity of Sankh top. Sankh was captured on 27th August. Then forces moved towards Ladiwali Galli and Jawans captured SawanPathri and Agiwas simultaneously. Then the column was constituted under the command of Major Ranjeet Singh Dayal who started operation towards Haji Pir Pass via Hedrabad Nallah alongside old Uri -Poonch road and reached near the pass at 9:00 am. Then Dayal along with his Jawans and slogan of Bole So Nehal stormed Haji Pir Pass and after hand to hand fighting pass was completely under the control of Dayal’sforces at 10:00 am when he unfurled Indian tricolour on the Pass.Major Ranjeet Singh Dayal was awarded Maha Vir Chakra for displaying outstanding courage and leadership.
In due course of time on 29th August, 19th Punjab captured Highest Bedori Peak and then moved towards Kuthnar di Galli on the top of Khatua in northern side under the command of Lt. Col. Sampuran Singh. Then 93 infantry brigade Poonch started operation Folad from Poonch side. Brigadier Zora Singh entrusted the job to Lt. Col. N.N. Khanna of 2nd Sikh and 3rd Dogra to capture Raja and Chand Post respectively. The operation was started on the intervening night of 5th and 6th September 1965 simultaneously. There was heavy retaliation from Pakistani defenders but under the leadership of Lt. Col. N.N Khanna Jawans of 2nd Sikh captured Raja Piquet after hand to hand fighting for two hours from 6:00 am to 8:00 am on 6th September and 3rd Dogra Captured Chand Tekri.Lt. Col. Late N. N. Khanna was decorated with MahaVir Chaker for his gallantry and leadership.
With the fall of Raja and Chand Tekri on 6th September, the Indian forces captured KhautaTownship on 10th September and Uri-Poonch link via Haji Pir Pass was made possible. With that the Indian forces closed the mouth of Uri -Poonch bulge and broke the backbone of operation Gibraltar launched by Pakistan. On 25th September Uri- Poonch road was opened and the natives of Poonch and Uri again established their historic cultural and social relations. The natives of Uri-Poonch bulge captured by Indian forces were also very happy in new scenario because Poonch administration provided all facilities to the people of this bulge.
Unfortunately at Tashkent after the deliberations of 10 days between India and Pakistan with the mediation of Russia, Tashkent pact was signed on 10th January 1966. Due to which all those areas captured during the war by both sides on the Kashmir front were returned back. Accordingly, Uri-Poonch bulge was also returned to Pakistan and the gain on the battlefield was lost on the table of talks.

 

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