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Naib Subedar Bana Singh: His Heroic Stand at Siachen

When the bugle calls, they shall rise again and answer. Siachen, the highest battlefield in the world, has taken the lives of many lionhearted Indian soldiers. Naib Subedar Bana Singh of 8 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, born on January 6th, 1949, was employed in the Saichen region in 1987. A special task force was constituted to fend off the growing infiltrations by the Pakistani troops in the area. Naib Subedar Bana Singh was a group member incorporated to clear the intrusion.

At an altitude of more than 20000 feet, the Siachen glacier is an unassailable and invulnerable fortress with icy cold winds and ice-laden walls as high as 1600 feet on both sides. The peak, previously known as Quaid, was intruded by the infiltrators from Pakistan. The enemy post was an impregnable glacier fortress at a height of 6500 feet. With indomitable courage, Naib Subedar Bana Singh led his troops through the most dangerous and strenuous route. He and his men moved from trench to trench, charging with a bayonet. They crawled, charged, faced the icy cold winds, the snow-laden ground and cleared the posts of all intruders.

The task force led by Naib Subedar Bana Singh started their heroics in extreme darkness facing a heavy snowstorm. According to Bana Singh, the Pakistani intruders had never thought that Indian soldiers could take such a dangerous route because of the extremely foul weather. The complacency of the Pakistani troops led to their downfall. When the Indian soldiers reached the top, Bana Singh opened the front door and threw grenades at the infiltrators. With a light machine gun, his brave men started the fire from all ends. The Pakistani soldiers were stunned to see such an operation by their Indian counterparts. Pakistan deployed most SSG personnel on the post. In the extreme and intense climate, more than seven Pakistani soldiers were killed by the Indian bullets and grenades. Few of them were even bayoneted. Naib Subedar Bana Singh even said in an interview that the Pakistani soldiers sensing the peril, started shelling viciously using airburst ammunition.

One of the members of the Indian troop, Sepoy Om Raj, had lost his hand in this intense operation. Despite all the odds and extreme climate, the Indian soldiers, with their brave efforts, captured the post but lost Sepoy Om Raj. Following the ethos and protocol of the Indian army, Bana handed over the seven bodies of Pakistani SSG personnel to his neighboring country.

The Brigade Commander, Brigadier CS Niugyal, who was involved with the planning and execution of the operation, arrived on a helicopter on the morning of June 27th, 1987. Sensing his stupendous bravery, he fiercely hugged Subedar Bana Singh as his troops. At a temperature as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius, Bana Singh and his brave troops emerged as the lone survivors killing all the Pakistani soldiers and SSG personnel.

A true, valiant and brave show of leadership led to Naib Subedar Bana Singh being awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his heroism. The post was later named the Bana Post to honor Naib Subedar Bana Singh for his dedicated effort. During the Kargil War, Naib Subedar Bana Singh was the only Param Vir Chakra awardee serving the Indian army.

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