The role of All India Radio (AIR) during the Kargil war was essential in preventing the spread of any enemy propaganda or baseless rumours propagated by Radio Pakistan ranging from the number of Indian soldiers killed to false claims of Indian army choppers being shot down.
While the Indian Army was fighting enemies, Tsering Angmo Shunu, Station Director, AIR, Leh and Kargil was combating the enemy propaganda.
She continued broadcasting even when there was heavy shelling but also raised the morale of the army by sending messages of encouragement to them. When the Indian army was in need of people to assist their soldiers, she consistently shared the message of vacancy and sent her 18-year-old son to help the army.
Angmo was born into a large family which was engaged in farming in Leh district. Her father was a Naib Tehsildar. She studied upto middle school in Leh and then moved to Kashmir. After completing her MA first year, she got married and had to quit her studies. She joined AIR Leh in 1975 as a program officer.
In any war, the most vulnerable installations are communication devices. AIR Kargil witnessed regular shelling and many proposed to close the station to protect the local staff.
Angmo says that as shelling would start, they would run to a small village called Mingi 15 km away towards Zanskar, as it was out of enemy’s shelling range. AIR Kargil staff had rented a room there and often all of them would sleep on the floor and then go back after the shelling stopped to continue their broadcast.
She told The Better India that there used to be daily shelling from the Pakistani side. Many shells would fell into compound of the radio station. Some of her colleagues barely escaped the shelling. The military told them to keep the lights off but shelling wouldn’t stop. She improvised to keep the station functioning. Many times, technicians would refuse to do their job and she would have to take help from the army. She was even told many times to leave to save her life but she wouldn’t surrender to the adverse situations.
On 26 July, India registered its victory in the battle of Kargil because of our brave soldiers and also because of people like Angmo who put their duty above their life.