2 JAK RIF, war hero Hav Shere Thapa deserve due recognition

By Col (Retd) Amar Patil

Arunachal Pradesh recognizes 2 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (JAK RIF), an infantry regiment of the Indian Army,. as saviour of Subansari district despite defeat in 1962 Indo-China War, recalls Amar Patil, who was commissioned into Indian Army on June 10 as the firt ever Tantia or  Kshatriya to be posted to JAK RIF and had the honour to take part in the war.

Tantias are very well-educated and well to do people and one of the influential communities in India.

“My 2 JAK RIF unit under his command as 2nd Lt performed extremely well and inflicted more than 150 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers, including 70 dead with one senior officer which had thwarted the Chinese offensive at the border,”  xxx based war hero recalls, who retired as colonel with a  Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM).

That time there was no communication network and the unit was totally air maintained from Daporijo ALG. The forward posts were maintained by air drops and the border was eight days’ march from Daporijo.

My unit had deployed two rifle companies with Tactical HQ in forward area of Taksing-Lemlking and set up protective patrol (PP) overlooking the track coming in from border. The PP was on ground dominating the track for about 1.5-km coming along the rocky the rocky side of mountain and there was no by pass. The PP was under command of Hav Shere Thapa and consisted of 10 men. The PP was tasked to give early warning, cause maximum delay and inflict heavy casualties on enemy. .

On 18.11.l962: The PLA launched offensive and advanced along the track from border and contacted the PP at about 3 pm. The PP under Hav Shere Thapa opened effective firing on enemy when they came in range and started inflicting heavy casualties. However, the determined enemy kept on coming forward over their dead soldiers and engaged the PP and gradually eliminated the members of PP.

In the end only Hav Shere Thapa was alive and he took over the LKG and kept on engaging the enemy in a relentless manner. Finally he had succumbed to the heavy onslaught of attack. The locals later confirmed that the Chinese Army had suffered 70 deaths, including one senior officer and there were more than 150 casualties. The next day the Chinese radio admitted that they had suffered 155 casualties. Thus, Hav Shere Thapa and his men had inflicted maximum casualties on enemy.

Rare honour by the PLA: It is of great interest to note that the Chinese Army had buried Hav Shere Thapa at the spot with   honour and erected a memorial for him with Chinese inscriptions placed over the grave. Such appreciation by enemy is very rare in the history of warfare.

The credit for inflicting the casualties goes to Hav Shere Thapa (No 13710603W) of 2 JAK RIF for his exemplary valour of  highest order and supreme sacrifice in Tama Chung Chung area of present Upper Subansiri district on 18.11.1962 for saving Subansiri Sector of NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh) from saving from Chinese Army offensive during war.

The state also appreciates Hav Shere Thapa as the hero of that war. His memorial with his bust was built by the Border Roads Organisation. After   unveiling it on 06.01.22, Chief Minister Pema Khandu had posted on X: “Little we know about havildar Shere Thapa, who single handedly delayed the waves of assault of Chinese Army for hours during 1962 war. It was at the Rio Bridge in between Taksing and Nacho in Upper Subansiri district that the brave heart laid down his life fighting for the country. Heartiest tribute to late havildar Shere Thapa.”

However, efforts to get recognition his unique valour, even by Arunachal Pradesh MP Tapir Gao, after I spoke to him over telephone, by Govt has been stalled by the Army HQ by saying that there is embargo on unit recognition and individual gallantry awards, despite the fact that an exception was made  by awarding MVC to IAF Sqn Ldr Devayya in 1988 for the gallantry displayed in 1965 Indo-Pak war when details were disclosed to British writer by Pak Star fighter Pilot.  But efforts are still on to give justice to 2 JAK RIF.

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