Updated June 11th, 2024 at 18:06 IST

How Captain Haneef Uddin Fought to the Last Breath, Last Bullet During Kagil War

On this day in 1999, Captain Haneef Uddin, a courageous Indian Army officer, fought valiantly in the heights of Kargil, embodying the essence of sacrifice.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Captain Haneef Uddin | Image:Republic
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Kargil, India: It was on this day in 1999 when a 25-year-old officer of the Indian Army was engaged against the enemy in the heights of Kargil, fighting until the last breath and bullet. Captain Haneef Uddin's life embodies the essence of courage, sacrifice, and unwavering dedication to duty. While protecting his nation against the entrenched Pakistani soldiers, the young officer kept engaging the enemy until he ran out of ammunition and was shot from all directions. He succumbed to his injuries, just 200 meters from the position they set out to capture. 

Born on August 23, 1974, in the heart of Delhi, Haneef's early years were marked by the loss of his father when he was just eight years old. Raised by his mother, Smt Hema Aziz, a renowned classical singer associated with the Sangeet Natak Academy and Kathak Kendra in Delhi, Haneef grew up alongside his two brothers, Nafees and Sameer. Despite the challenges he faced, Haneef excelled academically, graduating from Shivaji College, Delhi, with a degree in science. His multifaceted talents extended beyond academics, as he was not only a trained computer expert but also a gifted singer, earning him the title of 'Mr. Shivaji' during his college days.  

A Charismatic Personality  

Driven by an innate sense of duty and a deep-seated desire to serve his country, Haneef set his sights on a career in the Indian Army. Despite lacking guidance from family or friends on this path less travelled, he pursued his dream with determination. In 1996, after completing his graduation, Haneef embarked on a rigorous journey to the Indian Military Academy (IMA). Overcoming numerous obstacles, he emerged victorious, earning his commission into the esteemed Army Service Corps on June 7, 1997. His mother, witnessing his transformation into a responsible and mature individual, was filled with pride as he embarked on his journey to serve the nation.  

Throughout his military career, Captain Haneef's charismatic personality and natural leadership qualities endeared him to all who served alongside him. His jovial demeanour and musical talents served as a source of solace and inspiration for his comrades, particularly during challenging times. Carrying his music system wherever he went, Captain Haneef used music to alleviate the stress and uplift the spirits of his fellow soldiers stationed in remote and hostile environments. His popularity among his peers and his unwavering commitment to their well-being earned him the admiration and respect of all who had the privilege of serving with him.  

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Operation Thunderbolt: A Test of Valor  

Amidst the backdrop of the Kargil War, Captain Haneef volunteered for Operation Thunderbolt, a critical mission aimed at capturing strategic positions located at ab altitude of 18,500 feet in the Turtuk region. On the 6th of June, amidst the rugged terrain and harsh climate conditions the brave unit embarked on the mission to secure a vital position. Leading from the front, Captain Haneef embarked on this perilous mission alongside a team of dedicated soldiers. Despite facing relentless enemy fire and treacherous terrain, Captain Haneef remained undaunted, displaying exceptional courage and determination. 

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With resolute approach, he positioned himself to shield his comrades from harm, engaging the enemy in a fierce firefight. Despite sustaining grievous injuries, Captain Haneef continued to fight relentlessly until he exhausted his ammunition. The young officer was shot at from multiple sides. Tragically, Captain Haneef's valiant efforts were met with the ultimate sacrifice, as he fell victim to enemy gunfire just 200 meters short of their objective. His selfless act of bravery and devotion to duty stood as a testament to the noblest ideals of military service.

However, the treacherous conditions of the Turtuk region, compounded by enemy presence, thwarted efforts to retrieve Captain Haneef's remains. Alongside Captain Haneef, Junior Commissioned Officer Nb Sub Mangej Singh and Rifleman Parvesh Kumar also laid down their lives in the line of duty. In the wake of this tragic loss, Captain Haneef's mother expressed pride in her son's unwavering commitment to defending his nation saying, "“There cannot be a greater statement on his valor than his death which came while fighting the enemy.”

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Captain Haneef's selfless act of heroism and supreme sacrifice epitomizes the true spirit of a soldier. His unwavering courage, leadership, and dedication to duty serve as a shining example for future generations. Posthumously awarded the gallantry award "Vir Chakra," Captain Haneef's legacy continues to inspire and motivate all those who aspire to serve their nation with honour and distinction. As his proud mother, and wife, Smt. Hema Aziz, and brothers, Shri Nafees and Shri Sameer, mourn his loss, they take solace in the knowledge that Captain Haneef's memory will forever be etched in the annals of Indian military history, a testament to his indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment to the defence of the nation. 

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Published June 6th, 2024 at 17:03 IST