Thirty-eight years after taking control of Siachen Glacier in Ladakh, now a Union Territory, the Indian Army on Monday recovered the remains of one of its soldiers who had gone missing during Operation Meghdoot in 1984.
Identifying him as Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Singh of 19 Kumaon, an official statement issued by Udhampur-based Defence PRO Lt Col Abhinav said that he was part of a 20-member Army patrol that was hit by an avalanche on May 29, 1984, on way to Shankar Top. He was identified from an Army disc, the PRO said, adding that details about the soldier were retrieved from the Army records.
The remains will be handed over to Lance Naik Chandrashekhar’s family in Haldwani, Uttarakhand, soon, he added. The family of Lance Naik Chandrashekhar, which included his wife Shanti Devi and two daughters, bade him a beaveheart’s farewell, Lt Colonel Abhinav said.
Lance Naik Chandrashekhar’s wife Shanti Devi, originally from Almora, currently lives in Haldwani’s Saraswati Vihar Colony. Haldwani sub-collector Manish Kumar and Tehsildar Sanjay Kumar, who reached Shanti Devi’s house, said his last rites will be performed with full military honours.
Shanti Devi said at the time, they were married for nine years and that she was 28. Their elder daughter at the time was four and the younger one was one-and-a-half years old.
Shanti Devi said she was proud of her husband as he prioritised his service towards the country. According to information available, Lance Naik Chandrashekhar, a resident of Dwarahat in Almora, had enlisted in the army in 1975.
Operation Meghdoot was launched by the Indian Armed Forces to take control of Siachen Glacier on the morning of April 13, 1984, pre-empting Pakistan’s designs to capture it.
The Army PRO said bodies of 12 of the 20 soldiers were recovered during a search operation, while the remains of the rest, including Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Singh’s, were never found.
But as the fate would have it, 38 years later, a patrol party of Rajasthan Rifles came across a shelter that seemingly had been destroyed by an avalanche. During search of the surroundings, they stumbled upon the remains, torn clothes and an Army disc, he said.
“The sacrifice made by this soldier shows the spirit of the Indian army which is ‘Service before self’. His devotion to duty is manifested as even though the terrain is unforgivable, the climate ghastly, he still kept advancing and eventually made the supreme sacrifice. This discovery augmented the sense of duty of every soldier who is currently serving in the Siachen Glacier,” Lt Col Abhinav said. (With PTI inputs)