Naib Subedar (Honorary Captain) Bana Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for his role in ensuring that India achieved height domination over Pakistan in the Siachen Glacier.
Naib Subedar Bana Singh was born on 6 January 1969, in Kadyal, Jammu and Kashmir. He is only one of three living recipients of the Param Vir Chakra, the other two being Rifleman Sanjay Kumar and Grenadier Yogender Yadav.
On his 49th birthday, we bring you the story of his gallantry.
Taking Back Siachen
He was part of a group of the 8th Battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) that took back the highest post on the glacier from Pakistani Army infiltrators in June 1987.
It was of immense strategic importance since the point, at about 21,000 feet, overlooked the supply route to other Indian posts in the glacier’s Saltoro range. “The post was virtually an impregnable glacier fortress with ice walls, 1500 feet high, on both sides,” says the citation for the Param Vir Chakra awarded to Bana Singh.
The Indian Army sent two teams but both were unsuccessful. In fact, the first one sent for reconnaissance in May lost 10 men, including the team leader Captain Rajiv Pande, in Pakistani firing.
It was then that an audacious plan to recapture the point was put in motion on 23 June. The first two attempts again failed to make headway. A third attempt, which included Bana Singh, was made on 26 June with Indian troops firing at the post from the base camp to divert the attention of the Pakistanis. This team managed reach the post after a steep climb in the face of icy cold winds.
“The brave Naib Subedar and his men crawled and closed in on the adversary. Moving from trench to trench, lobbing hand grenades, and charging with the bayonet, he cleared the post all intruders,” says the citation.
The post had been reclaimed within five hours of the team leaving the base camp. The Pakistanis had called the point the Qaid Post, after Mohammed Ali Jinnah who was known as the Qaid-e-Azam. It is now known as the Bana Post.