Hyderabad: An Indian Army officer from Suryapet district in Telangana was killed along with 19 other soldiers in a clash between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh on Monday night.
Bikkumalla Santosh Babu, 37, was a Colonel in the 16th Bihar Battalion and had been posted at the Indo-Chinese border for the past 18 months.
A student of Korakonda Sainik School from 1993 to 2000, he went on to train at the National Defence Academy and also the Indian Military Academy.
Colonel Santosh was transferred to Hyderabad, but due to the countrywide lockdown he continued to stay at the border post. His wife Santoshi and young son and daughter, Anirudh and Abhigna, have been living in Delhi.
He was in service for 15 years, and served on the Pakistan border in Kashmir in 2007, where he killed three terrorists who attempted to infiltrate.
“During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties on both sides,” said a statement from the defen-ce ministry on Tuesday.
Colonel Santosh’s wife Santoshi told Deccan Chronicle: “I was intimated about my husband’s death on Tuesday morning by a unit officer. I was told that there was some clash between the soldiers at the border on Monday night. At that time, my husband fell in a canal (nala) and received injuries.”
She said she was told that “he was taken out of the canal and was shifted to a hospital for treatment, but he succumbed. The body will be brought to his native village on Wednesday.”
Speaking to the media in Suryapet, Colonel Santosh’s mother B. Manjula said, “I am proud of my son’s sacrifice of life for the country, but as a mother I am feeling heartbroken.”
Manjula said that she was intimated about her son’s death on Tuesday afternoon. The Colonel’s father Upender is a retired bank employee.
On learning about the incident, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao exp-ressed shock. He said Col Santosh has sacrificed his life for the nation and his sacrifice cannot be valued in any terms. The CM conveyed his heartfelt condolences to Col Santosh’s parents, his wife and other family members.
The CM announced that the government would support the family. He has asked minister Jagdeesh Reddy to ensure that a state representative is present to receive the mortal remains of the Colonel and till the completion of the last rites.