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The soldier who changed Kashmir's history
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August 22, 2006 03:20 IST

One army man's courage and resilience scripted the history of Jammu and Kashmir [Images], particularly of this city, in 1947, Governor Lieutenant General (retd.) S K Sinha on Monday said.

The history of Kashmir could have been different but for the valiant fight given by the Indian army led by Major Somnath Sharma at Budgam in 1947, Sinha said inaugurating the Budgam War Memorial near the Srinagar [Images] airport on Monday.

The army foiled the attempts of Pakistani raiders to capture the airport, he said.

Had the airport fallen, the army could not have brought in reinforcements and saved Kashmir. The city of Srinagar would have suffered the same fate of Baramulla, Sinha said.

Recalling his association with Major Somnath, the first recipient of the Param Veer Chakra, the governor gave a vivid account of the 1947 operations in Budgam saying that Somnath was keen to advance towards Baramulla rather than stay back at the airport for its protection.

The enemy had created havoc in Baramulla by indulging in indescribable plunder and mayhem, Sinha said.

Major Somnath, who was his age and a good friend, braved a fractured arm and ploughed on to face the enemy fire, in which he was killed, Sinha recalled.

The nation will always remember the sacrifices of brave soldiers like Maj Somnath Sharma, he said.

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