A movie Shradhanjali showcasing the sacrifice of Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon was screened at Shaurya Smarak here on Friday.
Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, PVC was an officer of the Indian Air Force. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration, in recognition of his lone defence of Srinagar Air Base against a PAF air raid during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. He is the only member of the Indian Air Force to be so honoured.
The life of Sekhon was showcased through this film. It is to be noted that he was awarded with Param Vir Chakra for Indo-Pak war. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, he was serving with the No.18 Squadron, "The Flying Bullets" of IAF, flying the Folland Gnat fighter aircraft based at Srinagar. On 14 December 1971, Srinagar airfield was attacked by six Pakistan Air Force F-86 jets of 26 Sqn from PAF base Peshawar. Flying Officer Sekhon was on readiness duty at that time. As soon as the first aircraft attacked, Sekhon rolled for take-off as No 2 in a two-Gnat formation, with Flt Lt Ghumman in lead, just as the first bombs were falling on the runway.
Sekhon, after being hit, was advised to return to the base. He is said to have flown in straight, wings level for some time, then going inverted, plummeting down, probably due failure of control system. He attempted a last-minute ejection, which did not prove successful, as his canopy was seen to fly off.
Despite many search efforts by Army and Air Force, his corpse was never found due to the mountainous terrain of where his fighter went down, much to the disappointment of his wife and family.