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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Flight Lieutenant Late Pradyot Dastidar Commemorated

His exemplary courage in the Indo-Pak War was recalled on the occasion

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: A memorial service was held on Thursday at the Dadar Railway station in Central Mumbai in honour of Flight Lieutenant late Pradyot Dastidar of the Indian Air Force (IAF), who had displayed extraordinary bravery and destroyed the Peshawar air base in the Indo-Pak War of 1965.

Commissioned in IAF on December 24, 1957, Flt Lt Dastidar of 5 IAF’s Squadron was detailed as the navigator of a target marking aircraft to lead a massive attack on the heavily defended Peshawar airfield on September 15, 1965.

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Only when he flew directly overhead could he see the airfield due to the poor visibility. The anti-aircraft guns fired up a hefty barrage as soon as he dropped a flare to see the target. He maintained a steady pace despite the shells and tracers, marking the target for the pursuing bomber stream.

Then, as the anti-aircraft guns were firing and shells were exploding all around him, he spun back to see his bomb. After spotting the target that indicated the bomb, he relayed the bombing index to the stream’s leader. He didn’t leave the area around the airfield until he was certain the stream’s leader had grasped the bombing index. Eventually, the Peshwar air base was destroyed, and all Indian aircraft returned safely.

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In this and seven other missions, Flt Lt Dastidar displayed courage and skill of a high order. He was awarded Vir Chakra by then President S Radhakrishnan. He retired on October 23, 1978, due to ill health. Since he was from Mumbai and his father was serving in the Central Railway in Mumbai, the railway employees installed a plaque in his memory on platform No 06 at Dadar Railway station.

Members of the Flt Lt Pradyot Dastidar Commemoration Committee with his family members. Photo credit: BISS

A commemorative program is being organized on September 15 every year to recall his bravery by the Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Samiti (BISS) (Indian History Compilation Committee), Konkan region, Central Railway and police for the last seven years.

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On Thursday, the Railway police, Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) accorded a salute to Flt Lt Dastidar. At the same time, a host of officers, representatives of trade unions, and others paid homage.
Lt Col (Retd) Ranade, SCC Petty Officer Sohail Shaikh, BISS President Dr Jamkhedkar, BISS Secretary Chandrakant Joshi, Senior Police Inspector Smita Dhakne of Dadar Railway Police, Railway Officers-Arun Pandey, Pravin Vaikar and Sandesh Todankar participated in the function. The BISS members Vrajendra Malviya, Rajni Agarwal, Hema Tanna, and Antim Bramhnathkar also attended the function.

In a similar program, members of the Flt Lt Pradyot Dastidar Commemoration Committee called on his family and paid homage to him on Thursday in Kolkata.

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  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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