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Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC (25 June 1975 – 3 July 1999), was an Indian Army officer of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, posthumously awarded the India’s highest military honour, Param Vir Chakra for his audacious courage and leadership during adverse times. He died during the attack on Jubar Top, Khalubar Hills in Batalik Sector, Kargil.
Captain Manoj Pandey, PVC belonged to Vill Rudha – Post – Kamlapur District-Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh. He was the son of Shri Gopi Chand Pandey, a small-time businessman living in lucknow. He was eldest in his family. He was educated at Uttar Pradesh Sainik School, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Rani Laxmi Bai Memorial Senior Secondary School. He had a keen interest in sports with boxing and body building in particular. He was adjudged the best cadet of junior division NCC of Uttar Pradesh directorate in 1990.He passed out from National Defence Academy in 90th course and stayed in MIKE squadron. He wanted to join Gorkha Rifles and got commissioned in the 1/11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army.
Prior to his selection, during his Services Selection Board (SSB) interview, the interviewer asked him, “Why do you want to join the Army?” He immediately replied, “I want to win the Param Vir Chakra” True to his words, Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey did win the country’s highest gallantry honour but posthumously.
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey took part in a series of boldly led attacks during Operation Vijay forcing back the intruders with heavy losses in Batalik including the capture of Jubar Top.
On the night of 3 July 1999 during the advance to Khalubar as his platoon approached its final objective, it came under heavy and intense enemy fire from the surrounding heights. Captain Pandey was tasked to clear the interfering enemy positions to prevent his battalion from getting day lighted, being in a vulnerable position. He quickly moved his platoon to an advantageous position under intense enemy fire, sent one section to clear the enemy positions from the right and himself proceeded to clear the enemy positions from the left.
Fearlessly assaulting the first enemy position, he killed two enemy personnel and destroyed the second position by killing two more. He was injured on the shoulder and legs while clearing the third position. Undaunted and without caring for his grievous injuries, he continued to lead the assault on the fourth position urging his men and destroyed the same with a grenade, even as he got a fatal burst on his forehead.
His last words were “Na chhodnu” “don’t spare them” in Nepali. This singular daredevil act of Captain Pandey provided the critical firm base for the companies, which finally led to capture of Khalubar. The officer, however, succumbed to his injuries. Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, thus, displayed most conspicuous bravery, indomitable courage, outstanding leadership and devotion to duty and made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.