As the stranded residents of Kerala's flood-ravaged Eloor waited to be rescued, the Ghatak Platoon came as a God-sent angel. Led by Captain Rishav Jamwal of the 13 Garhwal Rifles, the platoon rescued more than 500 people on Independence Day, August 15.
Known for their courage and valour, the brave soldiers of the Ghatak Platoon are part of a special force unit trained to operate as shock troops in combat. Interestingly, they did not use even a single boat to carry out the rescue operations.
The troops used gangplanks made out of wrecked flotsam and assisted the stranded locals to get out of their houses and reach the rescue boats. The platoon was deployed in the area on the night of August 14 and by the end of August 17, they had saved more than 500 locals from Eloor and nearby areas.
The troop gave priority to children and women and also used large-sized utensils to carry the rescued people to safer grounds. The unbelievable part about the entire rescue operation was that they did not use the standard boats for the operations. Instead, they helped the residents using basic things like ropes and utensils.
Captain Rishav Jamwal also rescued a critical kidney patient and a 20-day-old baby from Ernakulam's Sree Narayan Hospital on August 21. Jamwal and his men's efforts have garnered appreciation from all parts of the country. They are also being lauded for saving as many as ten thousand lives in the disaster-hit state over the last few days.
Every infantry battalion has a Ghatak platoon and the platoon that saved so many lives in Kerala comprised of the 13 Garhwal Rifles. Only the fittest and most motivated soldiers in an infantry battalion get to be a part of the Ghatak Platoon.
The officers of the platoon even faced the angst of locals, all of whom wanted to be rescued first. The stranded locals expressed their anger on the platoon but once all of them were saved, the anger turned into respect.
"It was raining. The residents in the swamped neighbourhood sounded anxious and angry. They all wanted to be rescued first, and at once," Captain Jamwal told The Hindu.
The Indian Army's efforts in carrying out rescue operations in Kerala have been truly commendable and they should be given their share of fame and glory. They are still doing their best by supplying basic essentials like water, food and medicines to the people who have returned to their homes from relief camps.
People are praising the real heroes on social media as they showed once again that no matter what happens, they will always be there for their countrymen. Among them is a former army officer who expressed his appreciation to the Indian Army.
Ata Hasnain, former Lt Gen at Indian Army, took to Facebook to praise the efforts of Captain Jamwal and his men. "When there are good things to say they must be said. Happy to see my Regimental unit at the forefront. Improvisation is a soldierly quality because no one puts up his hand and says it can't be done. The difficult will be overcome, the impossible takes just a little longer. Bravo Bhullas," he wrote.
"Col Yashdeep Sinha, CO 13 Garh Rif and Capt Rishav Jamwal have both spoken to me a few minutes ago and expressed their deepest gratitude for all the appreciation which is flowing on this page. The positive usage of social media as a powerful motivating tool is displayed in full in this thread and their response to people.Thanking everyone here for the good words said for 13 Garh Rif. It may be good to know that the unit has been in location for less than a month," Hasnain wrote on Facebook.
With their relentless efforts, the army has proved yet again that it can always be relied upon no matter how testing the times get. The Indian armed forces are the first to arrive and the last to leave everytime the nation is faced with any kind of adversity.