January 27, 2008 will be etched as the one of the saddest days in our nation’s history. For on that day we lost a very brave officer of the Indian army. Young Captain Sunil Kumar Choudhary died fighting the ULFA terrorists in Assam’s Tinsukia district on Sunday, exactly 24 hours after he was awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry.
Two ULFA cadres and Captain Choudhary of the 7/11 Gorkha Regiment were killed in an encounter at Rongagora, Borpathar under Talap outpost of Doomdooma PS at around 12 noon on Sunday. Acting on a tip-off that a group of ULFA cadres were taking shelter at a house there, the Army launched an operation. The Army raided the house where the militants, including hardcore ULFA cadre Joona Bhuyan, involved in several heinous crimes, were taking shelter.
Upon realising that they were about to be raided, the militants open fired to which the Army men retaliated in which Captain Choudhury and two ULFA cadres Tutu Maran alias Pallab Baruah and Jitul Dohutia alias Chandan, who belonged to the ULFA’s 28 Battalion and were close aides to Bhuyan, were killed.
After a brief standoff, Capt Choudhary charged into the house, his gun blazing, taking down two militants and injured one, but the young officer, too, was hit. The entire operation was over within a matter of minutes as the rest of the militants escaped. One AK-56 rifle, two magazines, more than 100 live bullets, one mobile phone and an IED were recovered from the hide out.
In the shootout, Captain SK Choudhury, who was a prime target for ULFA after he shot dead two leaders last year, sustained grievous injuries and was airlifted to the Air Force hospital at Rowraiah where he was declared dead. The ULFA cadre Bhuyan managed to escape. The Army rushed additional troops to the area to continue the search operations. Following his previous encounters, the young officer, who hails from Meerut and is an NDA product, was already attacked twice, though unsuccessfully, by the ULFA.
Captain Choudhary won the Sena Medal for his courage during a similar gunbattle with militants in J&K killing two ultras last year. He was due to get married latter next month.
We can only salute him and others like him who ensure that people like us sleep peacefully at night in our homes while these brave souls guard our nation’s gates against enemies both foreign and domestic. May the young captain’s soul rest in peace.