The Central Reserve Police Force is all geared to 'fight the invisible and invasive enemy' in the form of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, the chief of the force said on Thursday.
In a communication to his troops on the occasion of the 'Valour day' of the force, CRPF Director General (DG) A P Maheshwari asked them to be strong and fit for serving the country during these tough times.
"Dear friends, when going gets tough, the tough gets going. Toughness is our trademark..."
"Today, the entire nation is facing a tough time due to COVID-19. I am happy that being tough yourself, you all have geared up to help people fight the invisible and invasive enemy," he said.
The DG said 'all programmes related to the day are for the time being suspended' in view of the viral outbreak.
"However, we in our thoughts and ethos uphold the dignity of the day," he said.
It was on April 9,1965 at Sardar Post in Gujarat that only two companies of CRPF heroes proved tough enough for a full brigade of Pakistani army, making them bite the dust, Maheshwari said.
"We are and will always be proud of their valour and sacrifice for the motherland," he said.
President Ram Nath Kovind said the CRPF men, who were killed in action, wrote a 'golden history' on this day with their extraordinary bravery, patriotism and sacrifice.
He also paid his tributes to the martyrs in a message issued over Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also lauded the bravery of the force.
'The courage of @crpfindia is widely known. On CRPF Valour Day today, I salute this brave force and remember the bravery of our CRPF personnel in Gujarat's Sardar Patel Post in 1965. The sacrifices of the brave martyrs will never be forgotten,' the PM tweeted.
Union home minister Amit Shah wished the force, saying a small contingent of the force created history by defeating the invading enemy army that was several times larger than them.
'Congratulations to everyone and salute to our brave martyrs of CRPF. 'Shaurya divas' is a symbol of indomitable courage, valour and sacrifice,' Shah said on Twitter.
The fight-back by the force, which was posted for border guarding duties that time, is mentioned as one of the glorious chapters in military history of the nation when only two companies (about 150 personnel) of the force stood their ground and repulsed the Pakistani attack.
The force was tasked to secure Sardar post seeing the aggressive posturing of the other side and the location was at a flat area which was tactically disadvantageous.
On the intervening night of 8-9 April (1965), 3,500 men of 51st Infantry Brigade of Pakistan and comprising 18 Punjab battalion, 8 Frontier Rifles and 6 Baluch battalion stealthily launched simultaneous assault on the Sardar and Tak Posts under an operation codenamed 'Desert Hawk'.
The fight lasted 12 hours during which the enemy made three attempts to overrun the post but was repulsed with heavy casualties by some dare-devil action by the paramilitary men.
The retaliation by the CRPF men saw the numerically and armament superior Pakistan retreating the areas and leaving behind 34 bodies of their soldiers including two officers.
Four Pakistani soldiers were taken as hostages while six CRPF men made the supreme sacrifice and the post was saved.
The about 3.25 lakh personnel strong force remembers its martyrs by observing 'Valour day; on April 9 every year.