Hav Hangpan Dada, fondly called by his comrades as Dada, was born on 2nd October of 1979 in Borduria village in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. Hav Dada was a keen sportsman and used to run several kilometers and do 25-30 push-ups every day even as a child. Hav Dada joined the Army and was recruited to the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment on 28 October 1997. Six years later, he then went on to serve with the Assam Regimental Center and joined the 4th Battalion of the Assam Regiment on 24 Jan 2008.
Few years later in 2016, Hav Dada then volunteered to serve with the 35 Rashtriya Rifles engaged in anti insurgency operations in J & K. A devout Christian, Hav Dada also conducted heavily subscribed Sunday sermons for the men in the unit. He did the same while on leave in his hometown in Arunachal Pradesh. He was fond of keeping snakes as pets and had to be evacuated by a helicopter once, after he was bitten by one of them. Hav Dada was a soldier par excellence and was equally liked by his peers as well as seniors.
Naugam Operation : 26 May 2016
During May 2016, Hav Dada’s unit, 35 RR was deployed in Naugam sector in J& K. On 26 May 2016, his unit had received information from intelligence sources about the presence of terrorists in the Naugam sector. A decision was taken to launch a search and destroy operation in the night to flush out the terrorists. In the night of 26 May, Hav Dada along with his other comrades, led a charge on the hiding terrorists as per the planned operation. After reaching the suspected area, Hav Dada along with his team spotted the movement of terrorists and launched a well coordinated attack on them. A fierce gun-battle ensued that went on for over 24 hours. Hav Dada killed two terrorists on the spot in a swift an daring action. On seeing this , the other two terrorists fled and hid behind some boulders. Spotting two terrorists who had hidden behind boulders, Hav Dada lunged at one of them. The two were locked in hand-to hand combat, slipping and sliding down the hill, till Hav Dada finally neutralized him.
However, the fourth terrorist then sprayed bullets into him. Ignoring his grievous wounds, Hav Dada pinned down the shooter and severely injured him. The terrorist was eventually killed but Hav Dada succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. Hav Dada killed three terrorists in the operation single-handedly and his action led to elimination of the fourth terrorist. Hav Dada’s action of eliminating three terrorists in an engagement at close quarters and injuring a fourth one, in disregard to his personal safety, foiled the infiltration bid and ensured the safety of his comrades. Hav Dada was given the nation’s highest gallantry award during peace-time operations, “Ashok Chakra”, on the eve of the Independence Day in 2016.
Hav Hangpan Dada is survived by his wife, Chasen Lowang Dada, daughter, Roukhin and son, Senwang.
Citation for Ashoka Chakra awarded to him reads-
On the night of 26 May 2016, Dada, as Sabu Post Commander of 35 Rashtriya Rifles, while establishing a stop along with his Section at 12,500 feet, led a charge on hiding terrorists in Naugam, Jammu and Kashmir resulting in the neutralization of four heavily armed terrorists.He along with his team spotted the movement of terrorists in the area and engaged them in a fierce encounter that went on for over 24 hours. He charged at the spot where terrorists were and killed two terrorists on the spot and later the third one after a hand-to-hand scuffle as they slid down the hill towards the Line of Control. Dada sustained a sudden burst of automatic fire from the hiding fourth terrorist, receiving a gun shot wound. He continued to pin down the fourth terrorist and later succumbed to his injuries before wounding the terrorist.
Dada’s action of eliminating three terrorists in an engagement at close quarters and injuring a fourth one, in disregard to his personal safety, foiled the infiltration bid and ensured the safety of his men. He was honoured posthumously, the highest gallantry award during peace-time operations, Ashok Chakra, on the eve of the Independence Day in 2016.