India is observing the Police Commemoration Day today, remembering all the police personnel martyred in the line of duty. The day is reminiscent of the sacrifices of ten CRPF bravehearts who scripted a saga of valour and sacrifices in the snow-laden, inaccessible and inhospitable terrain of Hot Springs in Ladakh back in 1959.
It was on this day in 1959 when a patrol party comprising twenty personnel of the CRPF and Intelligence Bureau had gone to search for a missing reconnaissance party and was ambushed by the Chinese PLA. The patrol party was commanded by Karam Singh, DCIO. Even as the Chinese army personnel were in large numbers and heavily armed, the Indian security forces put up a valiant fight against them.
At least ten CRPF men were martyred as they defended their motherland. Their gallant action in fight against the heavily-armed People's Liberation Army at a height of sixteen thousand feet in sub-zero conditions exhibited raw courage and sheer commitment.
Seven men were also taken prisoner by the PLA. The remains of these ten valiant men of CRPF were returned by the Chinese only after hectic diplomatic efforts in November, 1959. They also released all the 10 CRPF men including the troops commander Karam Singh and the 3 men of the initial reconnaissance party held in their captivity.
The sacrifices of the CRPF personnel during the battle made the Hot Springs a sacred place of pilgrimage for policemen from all over the country. October 21 was then declared “Police Commemoration Day” to be observed by all police formations to commemorate loyalty and supreme sacrifice of police personnel for their motherland.