Assam Kargil Hero Forgotten

During the Kargil war, their’s were perhaps some of the most heart-rending images: that of Capt Jintu Gogoi’s father, a former Indian Air Force officer, receiving the body of his 29-year-old son in full uniform; and Jintu’s young fiancee later saluting his pyre, bidding him farewell one last time. Jintu was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra. However, that was then. As of now, Jintu is just another forgotten soldier whose family, for example, has still not been given the LPG distribution outlet that was allotted to them four years back.

Apart from financial support to Jintu’s family, an LPG distributorship in the area would go a long way in easing the hardship of the local population, who now have to travel a distance of 13 km to Badulipara, or even 30 km to Bokakhat for a cylinder of gas. More than 900 consumers stand to gain from an LPG centre at Khumtai, Jintu’s home in the Golaghat district of Upper Assam.
“I am not doing this for profit,” says Thogiram Gogoi, Jintu’s father. “If that had been my intention I would have applied for a fuel station.” There are more than 7,000 people here who can afford LPG, he says, but its simply not available, he says.

Jintu’s family has meanwhile found their own ways to remember him. His mother Duluprabha walks across the road to Jintu’s memorial to offer prayers every evening, while sister Luna preserves her brother’s cassettes with special care. “All this will be shifted to a small museum being constructed beside his memorial,” says Gogoi. Tributes from abroad too have come in. Among them, flower seeds sent by a person from the US to be sown in Jintu’s village. Gogoi was part of the 17th Battalion of the Garhwal Rifles, and was killed on June 30, 1999 during the Kargil conflict.

“People in the US and the UK remember Jintu,” says Gogoi. “But our own government has forgotten him. On his first death anniversary only the Golaghat unit of the All Assam Students’ Union, along with a few journalists, called us.”

By Bijoy S. Handique (