Recreation of 1971 Laungewala battle drawing large crowds

Jaipur, Oct 1 (IANS) A reccreation of the epic 1971 Battle of Laungewala, immortalised in the Bollywood film “Border”, just 15 km from the frontier with Pakistan in the desert state of Rajasthan, has been drawing huge crowds since its inauguration five weeks ago.

The Indian Army has effected the recreation through bunkers, minefields, communication trenches, 105 mm RCL (recoil-less) jeeps, destroyed Pakistani tanks and other vehicles to bring alive how the battle was fought on the eventful night of December 4-5, 1971.

The Laungewala Yudh Sthal “has been established to commemorate one of the most gallantly fought battles in the world history at this very site, in which over 179 Pakistani soldiers were killed and 37 Pakistani tanks were destroyed and a major force of the Pakistani offensive was blunted,” a defence ministry statement issued here said.

The effort has paid off.

“One can actually feel how the war was fought standing in a trench in 1971,” a visitor to the battlefield said.

Contributing to the effort is a state-of-the-art audio-visual theatre which screens a 10-minute documentary on the battle and clips from “Border”. Also displayed are images of some of the soldiers whose sacrifices led to victory.

Quite appropriately, there’s also a cafe named “Border” and a souvenir shop.

The Battle of Laungewala saw “A” company (about 300 troops) of the 23 Punjab Regiment hold off a determined attack by Pakistani tanks to capture the post. The battle lasted through the night and the denouement came through an airstrike the next morning.

Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, who commanded the company, was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), India’s second highest medal for gallantry. He retired as a brigadier and now lives in Chandigarh.

Laungewala is located 700 km from Rajasthan capital Jaipur.

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