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The daring feat of MVC Imli Akum
Published on 28 Jul. 2009 1:17 AM IST
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Mahavir Chakra awardee Havildar Imli Akum Ao killed two Pakistani soldiers in broad daylight, saving many Indian troops. It was a life-threatening mission and Havildar Imli Akum Ao didn’t have the required experience to take it on. But the Mahavir Chakra awardee volunteered to destroy a Pakistani ammunition dump, the lifeline of several mortars deployed in the Muskoh Valley during the Kargil war. Not only did Havildar Ao accomplish the impossible mission successfully, he did so without a single casualty. And all he used were his bare hands, reported on website Monday. Just 24-year-old, Ao, who was then a sepoy, was part of the Naga scouts group especially roped in to lead the Army during an assault. Havildar Ao killed two Pakistani guards in hand-to-hand combat in broad daylight, saving the lives of several Indian soldiers. “It was a very difficult mission and all those who participated in it were aware of the threat. Though Nagas are born warriors, a scout’s job is the key to a mission’s success,” said an officer of the 2 Naga regiment, to which Havildar Ao belonged. The assault group’s task involved killing the Pakistani soldiers guarding the mortar positions and ammunition depots. “The enemy positions were heavily guarded and the mission was to be carried out in daylight. But Ao volunteered for it,” said the officer. Earlier in the war, the unit had successfully cleared Point 4875 and Twin Humps, which were heavily fortified as well. The operation began on July 8, 1999 and the Naga scouts were asked to clear the way for the main assault group. The scouts didn’t have any natural protection in the bare mountains and at 15,000 feet, movement was painfully slow. “As soon as the scouts reached the mortar positions, Havildar Ao started moving towards the first sentry. Even before the Pakistani soldier could guess anything, he was dead,” said an officer from the unit. But Ao didn’t stop and took down the next target soon after. With the sentries dead, the Indian company stormed the Pakistani mortar positions and soon the battle was won. “Though Ao was injured, no one was killed,” said the officer. The Naga sepoys recovered three 120-mm and two 81-mm mortars from the Pakistani posts other than a huge cache of arms and ammunition. While Ao was awarded the Mahavir Chakra for his single-handed assault, an officer from the same unit, Major DK Shehrawat, was awarded the prestigious Vir Chakra. Though Havildar Ao’s unit is now deployed in the hills of Uttaranchal, the braveheart is in Drass, commemorating Vijay Diwas. MiD DAY couldn’t contact him at the remote location. “He is a remarkable football player and archer. The unit loves him. He is very helpful and always ready to carry out impossible missions,” said a young officer from Ao’s unit.

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