India and Pakistan's troubled borders have played stage to many conflicts, most of which remain unspoken. One such story is from the icy peaks of Siachen, when a conflict between the two armies showcased the bravery of Naib Subedar Bana Singh for what it truly is.
In 1987, Pakistani forces captured a strategically important position in the Siachen area.
Calling it the Quaid Post, named after the title of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Pakistanis took over an important position that lay at an altitude of 6,500 meters - the highest peak in the Siachen glacial area.
Fortified naturally by the glacier, the impenetrable fortress gave the enemy forces the advantage of a bird's eye view on the Saltoro range and the Siachen glacier.
A position from which enemy forces could take pot shots at helpless Indian soldiers. Something that happened that very year on April 18, when the Pakistani firing at Point Sonam claimed the life of 6 Indian soldiers including a JCO.
Naib Subedar Bana Sing was part of 'Operation Rajiv', the Indian Army's retaliation to the attack.
Trained in high altitude warfare at Sonmarg and Gulmarg, the Naib Subedar was deemed fit for combat, and his battalion was set to snatch the position away from Pakistan. On a strategic attack that was carried out on the 23rd, 25th and 26th of June , Bana Singh was handpicked by his Commanding Officer, Major Varinder Singh, and reserved for the more challenging parts of the operation.
The first two attempts on June 23rd and 25th failed, but on June 26th, Bana Singh led the platoon that carried out the final assault.
Two Indian soldiers lost their lives during the first attack, and the second attack had to be aborted due to communication problems. During the third attack, Major Varinder Singh (who was shot in the chest, earlier in the operation) put his best man in charge of the last raid. The final assault on that lone Pakistani bunker was put in action by the Indian forces at the very dark noon of June 25th, 1987. With the Naib Subedar in charge, our soldiers meant serious business this time around.
Toiling through an extremely hazardous route, the platoon flanked the bunker and tore it down.
Having inched all the way up to the bunker's door in a major stealth operation, Naib Subedar Bana Singh tossed a grenade into the bunker and shut the door behind him. Like a boss! This happened at a time when the Pakistani seemed to have let their guard down after thwarting the first two attacks.
A short but intense firefight and extreme close quarters combat raged on, and the Pakistani bunker was finally eliminated.
With a light machine gun that was set to single shot mode due to the weather, and a few bayonets, the platoon wiped out the bunker and captured it. In an attempt to retaliate, the Pakistani forces shelled out air-burst ammunition onto the post and one of the platoon members, Sepoy Om Raj, lost his life. A loss that troubles the Naib Subedar to this day.
On January 26th, 1988, Naib Subedar Bana Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest military medal, for his heroics during Operation Rajiv. And of course, that peak today is known as the Bana Post. What more do you want?