Naveen remembers Biju Babu’s heroics in J&K against Pakistan

Bhubaneswar: The Indian Army yesterday observed the 70th Infantry Day in memory of its first military operation against Pashtun tribesmen, the Pakistan backed extremists, that had taken place on October 27, 1947 to save Kashmir from intruders while Odisha remembered the role of legendary pilot and former CM Biju Patnaik (aka Biju Babu) who had assisted the 1st Sikh regiment troops in driving out Pakistani infiltrators.

Remembering the undaunted courage of his father in one of the most significant struggles, CM Naveen Patnaik tweeted “We remembered legendary Biju Babu on 70th anniversary of #InfantryDay. His role in saving Kashmir is legendary.”

In a tweet, MP Baijayant Panda also stated “We owe a huge debt to them. The 1st plane to Srinagar was flown by Biju Patnaik, legendary pilot, freedom fighter & future CM of Odisha.”

In remembrance of the great day and the heroics of Biju Babu, the CM also stated through a Facebook post ‘without him Jammu and Kashmir could have been lost to the enemies.’

“Whenever the nation remembers this historic day and salutes the valiant soldiers, the name of legendary Biju Babu will be taken with equal reverence. Biju Babu played the most vital role in Indian Army’s operation in Kashmir and without him Jammu and Kashmir could have been lost to the enemies,” his Facebook post read.

It was 1947 and the period of a territorial upheaval in Jammu and Kashmir. Launching an all out attack, the Pakistani invaders were only 30 km away to capture Srinagar. With no alternative left, the then king of Jammu and Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh had sought the help of Indian Army from the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

As there was not a minute to lose and no scope for sending army by road, Nehru had looked up to the indomitable Biju Babu for help. The bold nationalist Biju Babu took the DC-3 Dakota aircraft and flew with a battalion from the 1st Sikh Regiment from Delhi’s Palam airport to Srinagar amid severely hostile situation and crossfire.

This timely action had secured the most crucial Srinagar airstrip to enable speedy airlifting of soldiers into Kashmir, thereby strengthening the base of Indian troops, which had subsequently saved the valley from enemy hands, Naveen mentioned in his Facebook account.

Commemorating Indian Army’s first military campaign and success in Kashmir, the day, October 27, is observed as Infantry Day in the country.