Like his Hollywood namesake ‘Rocky’ Sylvester Stallone, this Rocky Singh from Ramgarh Majra village in Yamunanagar district was 5ft 9 inches tall. Though he had nothing to do with the boxing ring except that he was born in the country’s prizefighting nursery, Haryana, no reel hero could possibly match this 25-year-old BSF constable’s heroism that saved his 44 colleagues from terrorists.
Rocky, who was the armed guard on the bus ferrying 44 BSF unarmed personnel that was targeted by terrorists at Udhampur, resorted to retaliatory fire and stopped the Lashkar-e-Taiba duo from entering the vehicle, and killed one of them before laying down his life for his colleagues and country.
Born into a poor family of Dalit farmhands, Rocky’s first battle was against poverty as he struggled to complete BSc leaving it midway to join the BSF in November 2012. His motivation to join the Army was the Bollywood film “Tango Charlie”, said his brother, Rohit.
Bobby Deol-starrer Tango Charlie is the story of a paramilitary man, Tarun Chauhan, who crosses a dangerous combat zone in northern India while on duty, and he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a border war.
Praising Rocky, BSF director general D K Pathak said had he not eliminated the terrorist, the lives of 44 of his colleagues would have been gravely imperiled as the Lashkar terrorists had grenades and assault rifles.
Rohit said that the BSF commandant called the family at 1.30pm on Wednesday to inform them about Rocky’s martyrdom. His father, Preetpal Singh, said Rocky was a bright student and was studying in BSc when he was selected for BSF. In order to fulfill his dream of becoming an officer, Rocky was studying for his degree through a correspondence course.
“We are farm labourers. It was only after Rocky got the BSF job that his mother stopped working in the fields. He was a caring son. When he came home on leave last month, he had an inverter installed so that we would be comfortable during the summer,” said a despairing Preetpal.
Rohit, who is preparing for competitive exams after Class XII, said Rocky was also taking care of his younger sister Neha’s education at a nursing college.
Rocky’s first posting was in Jammu & Kashmir after completing his training in 2013. Barely two years later, his body will reach Yamunanagar on Thursday night, and will be cremated at his village with full state honours on Friday.
The Haryana government on Thursday announced a financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh to the family of Rocky and offered a government job to one of the family members.