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LifestyleICGS Kanaklata Barua commissioned

ICGS Kanaklata Barua commissioned

Published: 2nd Oct 2020 6:51 pm

The Indian Coast guard Vessel Karnaklata Barua was commissioned at Kolkata on September 30, 2020 through video conferencing. It is the fifth and last in a series of FPVs built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd. A Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) named ICGS Kanaklata Barua was commissioned in the Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday, in Kolkata.

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It is named after a teenage freedom fighter who was shot dead in Assam during the Quit India Movement. The other four are ICGS Priyadarshini (named after Indira Gandhi), ICGS Annie Besant, ICGS Kamala Devi (after Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay), and ICGS Amrit Kaur.

The FPVs are upgraded versions of the inshore patrol vessels with a modified form of the hull and can achieve a speed of 34 knots. Such vessels have also been delivered to Indian Navy by GRSE. In the Coast Guard these FPVs and their earlier versions belong to the Rajashree class of patrol vessels. The previous versions were named ICGS Rajashree, Rajtanag, Rajkiran, Rajkamal, Rajdoot, Rajveer etc; the modified versions are named after freedom fighters.

These ships are suited for patrolling, maritime surveillance, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching operations and also for fishery protection, and rescue and search missions. These FPVs are medium-range surface vessels with a length of around 50 m, and a displacement of over 300 tonnes.

Who was Kanaklata Barua

One of the youngest martyrs of the Quit India Movement, Kanaklata Barua has iconic status in Assam. Barua, then 17, led the Mukti Bahini, a procession of freedom fighters to unfurl the Tricolour at Gohpur police station on September 20, 1942. When police did not let them move forward, an altercation led to firing, killing Barua at the head of the procession.

Even as Barua fell to bullets, she did not let go of the flag. “She did not want it to touch the ground. Another woman volunteer behind her — Mukunda Kakoty — came and held the flag, and she, too, was shot.

Barua legacy

“The fact that she was a young girl — that captured the national imagination of the time,” said Avinibesh Sharma, who runs Vintage Assam, a website on Assam’s history. “… It was also a time where you saw a lot of women coming to the fore, leading processions, patriotic fervour was at its peak — and Kanaklata was a product of this time.” Today, there are schools named after her, there are two statues, there is a ship. 

The Coast Guard had named an earlier ship after her. The previous ICGS Kanaklata Barua was commissioned in 1997 and decommissioned in 2017. During its 20-year service, it participated in many search and rescue missions, seizure of foreign fishing vessels venturing into Indian waters and evacuation missions. The ship was dismantled in 2018 and sold as scrap.

Key Facts about ICGS

  • The ICGS was built by Kolkata based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE).
  • The vessel was delivered in June, 2020 and is the 105th vessel delivered by the defence PSU shipyard.
  • These ships can achieve speeds exceeding 34 knots with an endurance of  1,500 nautical miles or more.
  • The vessel is 49-metre-long and is designed to carry one high-speed rigid inflatable boat (RIB) and one Gemini boat that will help in swift boarding, search and rescue operations.

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