The blood of martyrs is the seed of the nation.
Colonel Neeraj Sood hailed from Delhi but grew up in different places as his father Mr. Prabhu Sood, served in Military Engineering Services [MES]. Younger of the two siblings, he had an inclination to join the armed forces since his childhood. Besides his fascination towards the Armed Forces, he was an anxious sportsman too. During his childhood days, he proved himself to be an ethical athlete and would often bring laurels for the school in various sports and track events. He joined the Army on 22 December 1992 and was commissioned into the Rajputana Rifles Regiment, an infantry regiment well known for its gallant officers.
|Service No.||IC- 51655|
|Unit||18RR/ 8 Raj Rif|
|Regiment||The Rajputana Rifles|
|Date of Martyrdom||22 June, 2010|
By 2010, Colonel had put in about 18 years of Service and developed into a battle- hardened soldier. During this period, he served in various challenging areas in J&K. After serving for many years with his parent regiment , he was deployed to serve with 18 RR as it’s commanding officer. By June 2010, he had completed 5 years in J&K and was due for a transfer.
During 2010, Colonel Neeraj’s unit was deployed along the LOC in the Kulgam Sector in the Kupwara district of J&K. LOC in that sector was volatile and active which needed to be monitored by the security forces by employing armed patrols on a Continuous basis. On the night of 21st June , he received information about the militants entering the unit’s AOR ( Area of Responsibility). He immediately planned a counterinsurgency operation and formed two teams to take on the militants.
Colonel Sood along with his troops reached the suspected area in the forests of Saiwan village in Kupwara district. Soon the troops made contact with the militants who fired at them on being challenged. The militants fired indiscriminately at the soldiers to break the cordon and flee. Col. Neeraj continued to direct his troops to foil their attempt by using thick foliage of the jungle to flee. During this fierce battle , Col. got hit by a gunshot on his head and was critically wounded. He was taken to the military hospital but later, he succumbed to his injuries and was martyred.
Hundreds of soldiers gathered at Brar Square in the capital where the valiant soldier was cremated amidst full state honours. But in the midst of the pain it was pride that shone through , for a husband ,a father and a colleague. Colonel’s wife Preeti Sood and her 11-year old daughter Mishika were inconsolable. A month after she and her husband celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary , it was not quite the way she would have wanted to remember that year with her husband wrapped in Tricolour being taken for the last rites.
He was a gallant soldier and a marvelous commanding officer who led his men from the front. He was given the gallantry award ‘ SHAURYA CHAKRA’ for his exceptional courage, sacrifice , camaraderie and dedication which was a great source of motivation and encouragement for his entire regiment.
They who sacrificed themselves To bring to life Something unknown Though nonetheless more precious Than their blood I like to think of them Hovering over us.-Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.