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15 Infantry Division / Panther Division

15 Infantry Division, Panther Division, was raised on 01 October 1964 at Clement Town, Dehradun by Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad. Skinner's Horse moved on special trains from Varanasi under the Commanding Officer, Lt Col GBS Sidhu to Patti in Punjab on September 8, 1965. The regiment was placed under the command of 15 Infantry Division for operations. 'A' Squadron (Rajput) was placed under the command of 96 Infantry Brigade and was tasked to assist 7 Punjab in mopping up operations along the eastern bank of Ravi from Kakkar to Ranian.

The Indian Army on Monday observed the Dograi Day at the Dograi War Memorial on 23 September 2008 at New Amritsar Military Station at Khassa. This day commemorates the famous battle of Dograi which was probably the hardest fought battle of the 1965 Indo-Pak War. Major General PS Paul, General Officer Commanding, Panther Division; Colonel OJS Khangura, Officiating Commander, Dograi Brigade, and other senior officers of Dograi Brigade paid homage to the martyrs at the Dograi War Memorial. The JAT battalion was conferred with the Battle Honour of Dograi.

In early 2001 an integrated ex-servicemen rally was organised by the Army at the border village Khalra in Amritsar district to establish a close contact with ex-servicemen and the people of border areas. The rally was inaugurated by Lt Gen K Davar, GOC Vajra Corps. Maj Gen Ashok Kapur, General Officer Commanding Panther Division, while welcoming the ex-servicemen informed them that the aim of this rally was to establish a close contact with ex-servicemen and people of the border area to ascertain their problems, to locate their resettlement and employment avenues and to provide free medical cover at their doorsteps. The General Officer Commanding also said that about 10,000 boys were screened for recruitment in Army during the rally.

A medical camp was also organised at which nearly 1000 people were treated and given medicines free of cost. The facilities of the medical camp were extended even after the rally concluded. Various information stalls were established at the rally. Stalls were put by various banks. Ex-servicemen and the villagers were educated about the benefits they could avail from the new schemes introduced by these banks. Punjab Agricultural University also put up a stall and explained the latest developments. The Animal Husbandry Department educated the people about artificial insemination and preventive measures against diseases. A Pension Adalat and Redressal Cell was established by JCDA, Jalandhar and DC Amritsar respectively. The ex-servicemen and people of Khalra belt got a golden opportunity to have their problems resolved on the spot. Stalls were also put up by the horticulture department, fishery department, Zone Recruitment Office, Jalandhar and many other organisatons. Canteen services for the ex-servicemen were extended at the rally.

In December 2001 the Veer Ahir Gunners of 164 Field Regiment (Parbat Ali), undertook a trek to the snow clad and treacherous Zanskar mountain ranges of the Sugar sector. This land of fairy tales and fantasies has a spectacular terrain of lush green valleys, orchards, adorned by the colourful and hospitable population. The trek was flagged off by Maj Gen Ashok Kapur, GOC, 15 Infantry Division with great fanfare. The trekking team consisting two officers, four JCOs and 35 ORs of the Parbat Ali Regiment and two signalmen of 15 Artillery Brigade Signal Coy proceeded from Amritsar to Puh along the picturesque vales, adjoining the turbulent waters of river Satluj. Kinnaur is a home to some of the India's oldest traditions and legends. In the epic Mahabharata, the Pandavas are said to have spent several years of their exile in these tracts. Ancient texts have gone to the extent of placing the people of Kinnaur-the Kinner-as halfway between men and gods. The highland tribes here are simple, hard working, honest and affectionate towards the tourists.

The majestic Gobindgarh Fort which is to be handed over to the Punjab government occupies a unique place in Indian history as it is inextricably interwoven with folklore and historical saga of Amritsar. For centuries, its walls have been silent witness to changing fortunes and masters including Maharaja Ranjit Singh who established Sikh rule in the then Punjab and Brig Gen R E H Dyer, the man responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 13, 1919. Originally it was known as 'Bhanglan ka Kila' when it was built in 1760 but was rechristened as Gobindgarh Fort by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1805. It underwent first reconstruction and got a facelift during 1805-1809. Acceding to the long pending demands of the Punjab government and considering Sikh sentiments, the Union Government has finally decided to hand over this fort to the state government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made this announcement on 24 March 2006 when he was in this pilgrim city for flagging off the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service.

Restoration initiative had been taken up by the Indian army to protect this invaluable monument from time to time with the little funds available at its disposal and with no outside help. As the condition of this unique heritage was deteriorating very fast, the 'Panther Division of the Indian Army resolved to arrest any further damage to the structure. When various agencies were contacted, a cost of Rs 80 crore was estimated for its reconstruction. Nonetheless, the army has its own ways of accepting challenges and executing works at a minimum cost and in the quickest time frame.

In May 2006 a training programme in pursuit of professional excellence was organised for the troops by the Panther Division under the aegis of Vajra Corps at Vajra Battle School, Amritsar. The present-day professional environment demands soldiers to be able to operate unhindered even in case of Nuclear, Biological or Chemical (NBC) warfare. The Army has created training facilities to ensure that not only do the troops survive an NBC attack but can also continue with all sorts of operations.

In late 2006 a childrens' park was inaugurated by Maj Gen KMS Shergill, GOC Panther Division at Tibri Cantt. On the occasion of Dera Baba Nanak Day, the DBN Brigade decicated the Childrens Park in the name of Capt DS Ahlawat of 10 Dogra Regiment who displayed bravery and valiance of an exceptional order during the battle of Dera Baba Nanak in 1971. Brig BB Sharma, Commander, DBN Brigade and other senior Army officers, junior commissioned officers and jawans also witnessed the occasion. A Barakhana with troops and an Officers Mess function were also organised to mark the occasion.

National Combat Forces Shooting Championship (NCFSC) was held at Infantry School, Mhow in 2008. Western Command firing team won the 88th Carnatic Infantry memorial Gold Cup and the Championship Banner. The responsibility of training of Western Command team was given to 13 Dogra/350 Infantry Brigade /15 Infantry Division. The battalion was instrumental in providing essential support to the team in each sphere of training.

The 45th Raising Day of Panther Division was celebrated 01 October 2008 at Amritsar with great pomp and show. Programs like Bhangra, Para Motor Show, Hot Air Ballooning, Mass Band Display and Dog Show were the main attractions of the day which were witnessed by troops and their families along with school children of various local schools and the local population. Major General P. S Paul VSM the 26th GOC of the Division, in his message on the occasion extended warm greetings to all ranks of the formation. He paid his respect to the veterans and saluted the soldiers, who made the supreme sacrifice to uphold the honour of the nation.

It was an emotional moment on 08 October 2008 for the Army garrison stationed in Gobindgarh Fort, which had been in its possession for 50 years, as it handed over its keys to the state's Tourism Department today. The Army had been maintaining the fort built in 1760 by Bhangi misl rulers and was christened Gujjar Singh Qila. Maharaja Ranjit Singh conquered the fort in 1825 and it remained under his occupation till the British took over its control in 1845. General Officer Commanding, Panther Division, Major-Gen P.S. Paul, handing over the possession to special secretary, Tourism, D.P. Reddy in the presence of deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu and other dignitaries, said during Partition the fort was used to shelter refugees.

The Army continued to occupy part of the periphery of the fort and a special road has been built to separate the Army unit and a separate entry provided for the general public to visit the fort. Pannu said the district administration had sought Rs 50 crore to renovate the fort. However, the Department of Tourism and Culture Affairs in Delhi had provided just Rs 2.5 crore for the conservation and preservation of the fort as a large portion of the fort building was decaying while some roofs were crumbling. He said the fort would be soon thrown open to the public. On the request of the state government, the Union government had decided to hand over the fort and the Prime Minister during his visit to the city in December 2006 had personally given the keys to the then Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at a rally to mark the transfer of the fort.



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