Not many paid attention when Naik Husan Lal attained martyrdom on 23 May 2010, while on overseas duty in Congo. The news item was not more than 10 lines then. He was part of the Indian Peacekeeping Battalion, which he joined in Feb 10. Born in 1981, in a well to do joint family, Husan did his schooling from Karnal (Haryana),after which he chose to join the Army. Husan volunteered for Special Forces (SF) immediately on joining the Army and was posted to J&K. A linguist by nature, he knew Urdu and Pashto languages and topped all Army courses of instruction. Being an all rounder, he was selected for the Pentathlon event at the World Military Games, held in 2007. Eventually, destiny brought him to Congo, with a team of Para SF, as part of an Infantry Battalion Group.
On that fateful day,he was on a routine ‘Area domination vehicle mounted patrol’, on a road which was surrounded by heavily wooded hills.The patrol observed a FARDC (Congolese Army) foot patrol approaching from the opposite direction. Suddenly, all hell broke loose when the foot patrol came under ambush laid by rebel groups. Naik Husan Lal, who was in the lead vehicle, instinctively jumped out to assess the situation. Caught in the thick fire fight and at the same time exercising utmost caution, not to injure civilians by his own fire, he went ahead to help the Congolese patrol. A stray bullet fired by the rebels hit him in the lower back. While being airlifted to the hospital at Goma after first aid, he succumbed to his injuries. Paradoxically, there were no casualties to the Congolese patrol, due to Husan’s speedy reaction.
Here was a soldier who did not bother about his safety and reached out to help men from another friendly country. Survived by his parents, wife and a two year old son, his actions did him proud and also to the country. He is the 10th Indian peacekeeper to be killed, under enemy fire in the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) since 1999, trying to bring peace & stability in Eastern Congo. (PIB)