A brave commando of Special Forces refused to be evacuated after being hit by two bullets and killed three terrorists, including a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a terrorist organization. The story of Major Jaidev Dangi shows how committed Indian Soldiers are towards the protection of their motherland.
Jaidev Dangi was born in Madina village of Haryana and studied at Ramakrishna Paramhansa Senior Secondary School. As a teenager, he did not know much about the Army and was coaxed by his Physics teacher to join the Army. However, one tragedy that occurred was that his father passed away while he was in school.
The journey from Army to Special Forces
He enrolled in the Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun and soon showed everyone how committed he was. During that period one of his instructors, Kunal Rathi, told him that if he wanted to do what he is training for, he should join the Special Forces.
In 2010, he passed from the IMA with a gold medal for standing first in order of merit of a regular course. After which, he joined the Special Forces, a decision he never regrets.
Life of the family members of a soldier
In June 2014, then as Captain, he was posted at Tral in South Kashmir. Just a few months back, on valentine’s day, he got engaged to Ritu but soon had to leave for Kashmir, and they would talk through text messages and calls that would sometimes last a few seconds.
On 5th May, Captain Dangi led an operation near Tral, killing a Pakistani terrorist. On that day, while talking with Ritu, he suddenly had to cut the call short. On that day, Ritu realised how the life of family members of soldiers is full of uncertainty.
On the evening of 19th June, while they talked about their wedding preparation, he told her that he could not talk and would speak to her later and instructed her not to call back. She held her phone to her ear for a few seconds and then texted him, ‘call when you are free. Please take care.’
The commando was summoned to the operations briefing room as a new intelligence input had detected the presence of Adil Ahmed Mir in Buccho Village. He was not an ordinary terrorist but a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen and was also the mentor and trainer of Burhan Wani, a terrorist who was shot dead two years later in 2016.
Even though Captain Dangi and his team had returned in the morning from another operation, they were battle-ready within minutes as they knew how crucial this operation was. A Casspir mine-protected vehicle drove off from Hardumir’s operating base and reached the destination within 10 minutes at around 5:00 PM.
Before starting the mission, Captain Dingi kept the briefing short and told his eight men that they need to finish the mission before the sunset as darkness will give them the chance to run away. Then, however, a problem popped up, the house in which the terrorist was present had three adjoining houses in the same compound, and he could have been hiding in any of three.
A team of 3 Rashtriya Rifles and J&K Police special operations group joined Special Forces men. The Rashtriya Rifles soldiers were responsible for cordoning the house from the front, and the commandos were positioned behind the wall at the rear end.
Captain Dangi and his colleague, a 19-year-old Paratrooper Mukesh Kumar, checked their Tavor TAR-21 assault rifles and took cover behind a eucalyptus tree. Other commandos also took positions at different points to seal off all exit points and not let the terrorists escape into the forest.
The police team cautiously approached the main house entrance, and as soon as they knocked on the door, Captain Dangi spotted a well-built bearded man in a pehran dash from the back door. As per the standard protocol, it was to be made sure that he was not a civilian trying to escape from the terrorist.
Captain Dangi shouted and told him that if he surrenders, he will not get harmed. The man did not respond but instead jumped across the back wall of the compound. As soon as he landed the Captain Dangi spotted that he was holding an AK-47.
The terrorists fired for 8 seconds until his rifle drained out, and before he could reload, Captain Dangi and Mukesh shot six single shots each from their TAR-21 and killed the terrorist on the spot. As per the intelligence, there was only one terrorist, and so the mission was over.
However, something was bothering Captain Dangi: How could such a prominent terrorist commander be killed so easily? His doubts were proved legit, within a minute of the first terrorist shot dead, two other terrorists came out from their hiding and started firing towards the commandos. However, unlike the first one, these two were not making any attempts to escape.
Taken by sudden surprise, the commandos were now in a defensive position. The tree behind which Captain Dangi and his colleague had taken cover was not wide enough to shield them both. As a result, a bullet pierced through the left thigh of Captain Dangi, and a second bullet pierced his abdomen. His colleague Mukesh had suffered similar injuries to his right side of the body.
Captain Dinga knew that Mukesh would be shaken as these were his first gunshot wounds, and so he dragged him to the position of a tree that made him less vulnerable to the incoming fire and signalled to one of the soldiers to come over to them and watch the injured Mukesh.
Naib Subedar Tribhuwan Singh crawled on his hands and knees to reach the wounded comrade as the commandos provided cover fire. He kept the pressure on the man’s wounds to prevent further blood loss and also gave him confidence that the operation would be over soon and he would be rescued.
Two bullets can’t kill a commando
Even though Captain Dinga was himself injured and bleeding profusely, he stuck out his TAR-21 from behind the tree and opened fire at the advancing terrorists, and his bullet struck one of the terrorists, and he fell on the ground. That terrorist was none other than Adil Ahmed Mir.
Just as Captain Dinga was about to shoot and eliminate the terrorists, a bullet came his way and hit his assault rifle, which jammed it and made the rifle useless. He swiftly picked up Mukesh’s Rifle, but it was empty, and so he replaced it, but by then the other terrorist had made a dash towards the tall grass in a bid to escape.
As soon as Captain Dangi came out of cover to finish off the grounded terrorist, Mir suddenly shot a hail of bullets towards the commando. Luckily most of the bullets missed, although one bullet grazed his cheek and opened up his skin, a minor injury compared to the other two gunshot wounds.
Captain Dangi shot ten bullets into the terrorist and took a headshot while standing over him. Captain Dangi, who by now had lost much blood, and as a result, he was losing his strength, but he refused to be evacuated till the third terrorist was dead.
Captain Dangi quietly moved towards the direction of where the third terrorist had run. However, the large bag sack worn by the terrorist gave away his location, and Captain Dangi did not wait for another second to shoot a burst of bullets and neutralised the last terrorist with a headshot.
However, he did not savour the success; instead, he directly went and checked Mukesh, who was still conscious, and told him that two bullets could not kill a commando, to which both the commandos smiled in the backdrop of a setting sun.
The operation lasted for about 20 minutes from start to finish, and from the moment the terrorist fired the first shot to Captain Dangi delivering the last headshot, it was about 8 minutes. Thus, this operation became the definition of a swift operation.
The two injured commandos were shifted to 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar via a helicopter. Meanwhile, back in Rohtak, when Ritu got to know this, she panicked and started calling Captain Dangi’s phone, and finally, at 9:00 PM, a team commander, a Major, picked up the call and told her that he is fine and out of any danger.
Both the commanders were discharged from the hospital after three weeks, but the wedding of Captain Dangi and Ritu was postponed from August to December as the commando’s wounds needed some time to heal.
On 21st March 2015, Captain Jaidev Dangi was awarded Kirti Chakra from the President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the presence of his wife and his best friend, Captain Pradeep Balhara of the sister Special Force unit.
Today as a Major, Jaidev Dangi continues serving the nation.