The valour of Para Special Forces Officer Major Mohit Sharma, who was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra in 2009, still reverberates in his hometown of Rohtak in Haryana. He was killed in action during a military operation in Kupwara District of North Kashmir on March 21, 2009. But his fascinating tale of gallantry during a covert operation in March 2004 still lives on to inspire millions of Indians.
The book titled, ‘India’s Most Fearless 2’ by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh, an excerpt of which was published in Swarajya in 2019, sheds light on how Major Mohit Sharma infiltrated the Islamist terror outfit, Hizbul Mujahideen, and successfully took out two dreaded terrorists. It was in Shopian, 50 km south of Kashmir, where the operation was executed.
Major Sharma was able to establish contact with two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, namely, Abu Torara and Abu Sabzar, under the alias of Iftikhar Bhatt. With long hair and beard flowing down to his neck, he disguised himself to blend seamlessly into the terror outfit. And there he was in a small room at an undisclosed location in Shopian, in the company of Torara and Sabzar.
Major Mohit Sharma concocted a story to convince the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists of his plans to attack the Indian army. He told them that his brother was killed by the Indian security personnel in 2001. He told Torara and Sabzar that he wanted to avenge his brothers’ death and needed help from the duo. Major Sharma informed them that he wanted to carry out a terror attack at an Army checkpoint and had done the ‘necessary groundwork’ for the same.
A viral tweet thread had recently highlighted his story.
A Young Kashmiri lad Iftikaar Bhatt, with shoulder length hair and wearing the traditional Kashmiri Pheran, approached the dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen in Shopian, Kashmir sometime during 2003. pic.twitter.com/HK6sVEf4dn— Nation First, Always, Everytime 🇮🇳 (@ramnikmann) January 18, 2021
The Para Special Forces Officer showed them hand-drawn maps of army movement in an unknown hill trail, which ‘moderately impressed’ Torara and Sabzar. Demonstrating his motivation, Major Sharma said, “I need your support, I want to learn.” The duo, who had been running a terror recruitment programme in South Kashmir, wanted to know more about him. ‘Who are you?’, Torara inquired on several occasions, suggesting that there was a deficit in trust somewhere.
But, nevertheless, they decided to help him execute his plans. The Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists informed Major Sharma that would go underground for several weeks and help in coordinating the logistics and finer points for the proposed terror attack. He convinced them that he would not return to his village until he had struck an army checkpoint. Soon, in the coming days, Torara and Sabzar arranged for a consignment of grenades, besides summoning three other terrorists from a nearby village.
The Final Blow
When Torara began having second thoughts, Major Sharma said, “If you have any doubts about me, kill me.” While dropping his Ak-47 rifle, he said, “You cannot do this if you don’t trust me. So you have no choice but to kill me now.” This caught Torara in a state of dilemma, who then looked at Sabzar for redressal. While both were caught off guard, Major Mohit Sharma seized the opportunity, took out his loaded 9-mm pistol and shot them dead.
The officer was martyred 5 years later in an anti-terror operation in the Kupwara district. During a firefight with the terrorists in the Haphruda forest, Major Sharma had killed two terrorists in close combat and had rescued many of his colleagues before being hit on the chest with a bullet and succumbing to his injuries later.