Did the crew of INS Kirpan, the Indian Navy frigate which was honoured with gallantry award for its role in 1971 Indo-Pak war play an ignominious role by deserting sailors who were drowning in INS Khukri?
Nearly 40 years after the sinking of INS Khukri, this is the question being raised by one of the survivors of the ill-fated frigate of Indian Navy.
A retired sailor, Chanchal Singh Gill, who served in the Indian Navy for 14 years, has moved the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) seeking correction of Naval history related to the INS Khukri.
A comprehensive time bound inquiry by a commission, withdrawal of gallantry awards from those who allegedly showed cowardice, including officers and Commanding Officer of INS Kirpan, and fixing responsibility for the Indian Navy’s ”greatest cover up after the greatest tragedy”, besides their court martial, has also been sought.
The main allegations of 58-year old Gill — who was on duty as artificer apprentice on the fateful night of December 9, 1971 when the Pakistani submarine PNS Hangor hit the INS Khukri — is that the record prepared by the Historical Cell of Directorate of Naval Operations, at Naval Headquarters, New Delhi, pertaining to INS Khukri is ”far away from the truth”.
While pointing out ”glaring errors” in the records, which came to his notice in February 2004, that ‘Khukri sank just by one torpedo hit whereas INS Kirpan manoeuvered to deflect torpedo attacks’, Gill claims that actually three torpedoes had hit Khukri and instead of joining action to counter the attack, INS Kirpan ”fled away”. After reading the official account, Gill immediately sent letters to parliamentary standing committee on defence seeking correction of the records but has not heard from them till now.
-via The Times of India