Police Commemoration Day is observed on October 21 in India. It is a national holiday to pay tribute to the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. It is also a day to express gratitude to the officers and the families of those who continue to serve and protect us every day.
History of Police Commemoration Day
Due to incidents during 1958 and 1959, the relationship between India and China was changing. There were political and geographical issues that escalated, creating turmoil between the countries. On October 21, 1959, it is believed that China initiated its first attack on India in the Aksai Chin region. The People’s Liberation Army allegedly attacked the Intelligence Bureau and Central Reserve Police Force (C.R.P.F), killing 10 men and taking seven as prisoners.
As per official accounts from the time, three reconnaissance parties were launched from Ladakh the day before, as part of an Indian expedition to Lanak La. However, only two of these parties returned. The following morning, a party of 20 personnel consisting of people from the Intelligence Bureau and C.R.P.F. was led by D.C.I.O Shri Karam Singh to search for the missing party. They moved on horseback while all other personnel followed on foot. Around midday, the Chinese army opened fire and threw grenades at Singh’s party, which was without cover. The attack led to the death of 10, the capturing of seven and injuries to the remaining men who fortunately managed to escape.
It was only after a full three weeks that the Chinese handed over the bodies of the martyrs to the nation. They were then cremated with proper police honors in the Hot Springs in Ladakh. Along with widespread rage that swept the country, there was also overwhelming gratitude for the brave soldiers who had fought until the end. At the annual Conference of Inspectors General of Police of States and Union Territories in January 1960, October 21 was declared as ‘Commemoration Day’.
Police Commemoration Day timeline
One of three parties launched from Ladakh does not return to the base.
The Chinese army attacks and kills 10 brave Indian soldiers.
October 21 is declared as Police Commemoration Day across the nation.
The National Police Memorial is erected in New Delhi in remembrance of all police martyrs since independence.
Police Commemoration Day FAQs
Why do we celebrate Police Commemoration Day?
We celebrate to pay tribute to the brave men who were killed in the Chinese attack in 1959.
Are Police Commemoration Day and Martyrs’ Day the same?
No, they are not. Martyrs’ Day (Shaheed Diwas) is observed on March 23 every year.
Where is the National Police Memorial located?
The National Police Memorial is located at the crest of Shantipath in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, India.
How to Observe Police Commemoration Day
Watch the parade
If possible, watch the Police Commemoration Day parade on television or the internet. It’s a great way to pay tribute to the martyrs from home.
Visit the National Police Memorial
If you’re in the area, plan a visit to the National Police Memorial erected in New Delhi, India. It’s a way to remember and honor the gallant men who served.
Support the martyrs’ families
There are organizations that help the families of martyrs, especially those who lost their breadwinners. You can donate to these organizations to extend support.
5 Interesting Facts About The Indian Police
The bigger the mustache, the better
Officers with bigger mustaches in Madhya Pradesh are paid more since they are believed to have better command.
A skewed ratio
There are only 130 cops for every 100,000 people.
The job can take a hefty toll
According to a National Crime Records Bureau report, Mumbai has the highest number of police suicides in India.
Friends through football
As an initiative to make kids less afraid of the police, a non-governmental organization in Delhi organizes children’s football games with the police.
Camo in khaki
Since India can get dusty, old British officers dyed their white uniforms to hide the dust marks; that is how the khaki uniform originated.
Why Police Commemoration Day is Important
It keeps memories alive
As we go on, we must also remember those who have sacrificed their lives to protect us and ensure our future. These brave officers may not be with us anymore but their memories must live on with us.
It is a reminder to be grateful
The gallant officers who risk their lives to serve and protect are nothing less than heroes. This day reminds us to express gratitude not only to them but also to their families, who make their own set of sacrifices.
It keeps us grounded
A day like this keeps us rooted in history and reminds us of the ebbs and flows that have led to the present. No matter the fight, officers risk their lives to serve and protect the nation and we must not take it for granted.
Police Commemoration Day dates