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48 years after death, soldier's remains sent home

By The Assam Tribune

Tinsukia (Assam), July 11 (IANS): Forty-eight years after he fell to the advancing Chinese Army in the dizzy Himalayan heights of Arunachal Pradesh, the remains of 'sepoy' (soldier) Karam Chand were on Saturday sent to his hometown in Himachal Pradesh with full military honours.

"The remains of sepoy Karam Chand have been sent today (Friday) by train to his hometown of Agochar village in Palampur subdivision of Himachal Pradesh so that his family members can perform his last rites as per traditional customs," an army commander told IANS.

Karam Chand was just 21 when he died after being hit by a mortar shell fired by the Chinese Army on Oct 23, 1962, near Walong in the Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh. He was perhaps buried along with his military uniform as the battle went on for days together - some 200 Indian Army soldiers were killed and many captured with the Chinese Army able to capture Wallong. Along with Karam Chand, 12 more Indian soldiers belonging to the Dogra Regiment went missing.

Sometime in the first week of July, Border Road Task Force (BRTF) personnel engaged in clearing a road blocked by a massive landslide near Wallong stumbled upon some remains dating back to the war.

"First it was the BRTF personnel who found two identity discs belonging to the martyr near Walong and soon we launched a massive search operation involving soldiers from the Sikh Regiment July 5," the commander said.

After four days of intense digging, Karam Chand�s personal belongings, his identity discs, a silver ring, a dilapidated cover of his pay book and a fountain pen, were recovered from close to the site from where the BRTF personnel recovered the remains.

"Skulls and bones were also recovered from the site. We have carefully collected all the remains and put them in a coffin which has now been sent to his native place," the army official said. "The badge bearing PIS No.3950976 was later confirmed to be that of Sepoy Karam Chand whose name figures in the list of martyrs."

The local army unit on Friday held a small function at the Walong base to remember the soldier who lost his life to advancing Chinese soldiers. The remains of the soldier will reach his native village July 13.

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