The significance of October 21: Police Commemoration Day

Police Commemoration day

Police Commemoration Day – Recent years have witnessed the rise in National Security consciousness among the common people of India. The Security personnel is respected and considered a role model for society. However, these praises have mostly been reserved for the Armed forces of the country. The Police, which forms the backbone of the internal security of the country has not received the due praise and support it deserves from the common masses, and the Police Commemoration Day makes up a bit for this injustice.

► Since Independence, as many as 35, 134 personnel of the state police and Central Armed Police Forces have sacrificed their lives fighting crime & terror, maintaining public order, safeguarding our borders, and maintaining the internal security of the country.

Reasons behind the observation of Police Commemoration Day

The Police Commemoration Day is observed every year on October 21 to commemorate the Police personnel who were martyred in Hot Springs, Ladakh in 1959.

The Hot Spring Incident:

► Hot Springs” is not just a place but an epitaph of exemplary bravery displayed by Indian Police and their supreme sacrifice while protecting the territorial integrity of the country under extreme geo-climatic conditions.

► The Indian Police personnel were responsible for manning the 2,500 mile long border of India with Tibet until the autumn of 1959.

► In early September 1959, a patrol party of ITBF was captured east of Chushul by the Chinese and released in the beginning of October. In view of these developments, Deputy Central Intelligence Officer (DCIO), Karam Singh of ITBF was assigned the task of establishing outposts near the Chinese Occupation Line.

► On 20th October 1959, three reconnaissance parties were launched from Hot Springs in North Eastern Ladakh in preparation for further movement of an Indian expedition which was on its way to Lanak La.

► While members of two parties returned to Hot Springs by the afternoon of that day, the third party consisting of Constable Mohd. Khalil, Sonam Dorje and porter Chetan did not turn up.

► All available personnel was mobilized on 21st October in search of the missing personnel. Two parties of about 20 Police personnel led by Karam Singh, DCIO, and S. P. Tyagi proceeded ahead on horseback, while others followed on foot in three Sections.

►At about mid-day, Chinese Army personnel opened fire and threw grenades at the party led by Karam Singh. Since there was no cover, and the Chinese were on the hilltop, most personnel were injured.

► 10 soldiers died and 7 including Karam Singh were taken prisoners by the Chinese.

► Bodies of the ten personnel were returned by the Chinese only on November 13, 1959, a full three weeks after the incident. These bodies were cremated with full Police honours at Hot Springs.

► On November 14, 1959, the ten captured men including the three who went missing on Oct. 20 were handed over to the Indian authorities.

Aftermath of the Incident:

► Every year IB organizes a pilgrimage tour of All India Police Party with members representing various States and Central Police Forces to Hot Springs to pay their homage to the ten valiant Police personnel who laid down their lives while protecting the territorial integrity of our country.

► The decision to organize such a commemorative tour was taken in the IGPs conference of 1960 as a token of respect to the martyrs.

Police Commemoration Day celebrates the valor of Police Jawans fighting at 16,000 ft. altitude, in freezing conditions and against a well-equipped and heavily armed army regiment, is a rare saga of courage and commitment to duty. This epitome of rare valor is remembered in reverence and is an everlasting sense of inspiration for all Police forces in India and more so for the CRPF.

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