Major Padmapani Acharya

On 28 June 1999, in the battalion attack on the Tololing feature by the 2nd Rajputana Rifles, Major Padmapani Acharya as a Company Commander, was assigned the formidable task of capturing an enemy position which was heavily fortified and strongly held with mine fields and sweeping machine gun and artillery fire. Success of the battalion and brigade operation hinged on the early capture of this position. However the company attack almost faltered at the very beginning, when the enemy's artillery fire came down squarely on the leading platoon, inflicting large numbers of casualties. With utter disregard to his personal safety, Major Padmapani Acharya took the reserve platoon and led it through raining artillery shells.

Even as his men were falling to enemy fire, he continued to encourage his men and charged at the enemy with the reserve platoon up the steep rock face. Unmindful of the hail of bullets from the enemy's bunker, Major Padmapani Acharya crawled up to the bunker and lobbed grenades. Severely injured and unable to move, he ordered his men to leave him and charge at the enemy while he continued to fire. The bunker was finally over-run and the objective was captured.

After completion of the mission, Major Acharya succumbed to his injuries. A few days before the capture of Tololing Top, Major Acharya wrote a letter to his father in which he added a quote from the Bhagvad Gita which stated, "Die, and you will win heaven; conquer, and you enjoy sovereignty of the earth; therefore, stand up, Arjuna, determined to fight." For conspicuous gallantry and supreme sacrifice, Major Padmapani Acharya was honoured with the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously. Jai Hind!! Jai Jawan!!

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