The Raipur Crossing on the Munnawar Tawi river in the Akhnoor sector in Jammu and Kashmir witnessed an unusual gathering today. It was the coming together of the brothers and schoolmates of a boy who went to school around 3,400 kilometers south of there.It is no longer known exactly where he fell, or where he was laid to rest by his mates. But Second Lieutenant Radha Mohan Naresh was remembered by his brothers, Dr. Gopi Mohan Naresh and Mr. Praveen Naresh as they lit a memorial torch in the presence of his alumni from Sainik School, Kazhakootam, 18 kilometers from Thiruvanathapuram in Kerala, and personnel of the Jat Regiment.
The two brothers were 17 and 5 years old, when Second Lieutenant Naresh was killed in action on December 10, 1971, defending the Raipur Crossing, one of the fordable points of the Munnawar Tawi river, the Indian line of defense for the Akhnoor Sector, ten days after being commissioned into the IX Jat Regiment at the age of 21.
There was nothing much left for them to remember him, but for a passport size photograph, still saved by his mother, Mrs. Subhadramma.
Several senior Army Officers led by Major General KS Venugopal and Colonel HS Mavi, Commanding Officer of II Jat Regiment, were present at the commemoration.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Defense, says, “Second Lieutenant Radha Mohan Naresh was commanding a platoon, and tasked to defend the Raipur Crossing, on the Munawar Tawi river, where the Pakistani Army had launched a major infantry offensive. Naresh led his platoon from the front, as they fought a valiant battle to hold the post, till reinforcements arrived. In doing so, the brave Officer, fell, in one of the most ruthless battles of the ’71 war. Second Lieutenant Naresh was laid to rest, somewhere near the Indo-Pak border.”
Naresh’s Company Commander was killed at around 6:30 in the morning of December 10, and by 8:30, Naresh too had died in action.
He became an inspiration for his school and was the first of several alumni, who laid down their life for the country. Colonel NJ Nair, Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra – the highest decorated Soldier in the Indian Army to date, Major Harshan, Ashok Chakra and several others from Sainik School, Kazhakootam followed his example of heroism.
Captain Ramesh Babu, retired, a member of the Old Boys Association of the school has taken the initiative to honor its martyrs as part of its Golden Jubilee. “There is no better way and occasion to honor the heroes and inspire the present generation” he said.
The school will also unveil a bust of Second Lieutenant Radha Mohan Naresh contributed by his family next January, at the culmination of its Golden Jubilee commemoration.