Army recovers mortal remains of soldier after 38 years from Siachen

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Aug 16: Army have recovered mortal remains of a soldier from Siachen Glacier in the Union Territory of Ladakh 38 years after he was martyred during early days of ‘Operation Meghdoot’.
Mortal remains of Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Singh Harbola, who hailed from Dwarahat Almora in Uttarakhand were recovered by an Army team, from Icy heights of Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield.
“In 1984, during Operation Meghdoot, a patrol party of 20 soldiers of 19 Kumaon  led by 2/Lt Pradeep Singh set out towards Shankar Top. Through the heavy snowfall, icy-cold weather and rarefied atmosphere they marched on with a great sense of duty and purpose. Unfortunately, the patrol party was struck by an avalanche and all 20 of the patrol party were lost to the disaster. Through a search operation, 12 of the 20 bodies were recovered but the mortal remains of the rest including Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Singh continued to be a part of the icy glacier,” an Army official said.
He said that the family of Chandrashekhar which includes his wife and two young daughters never even had the chance to see his body and bid him a beaveheart’s farewell.
“But as fate would have it, 38 years later a daring patrol conducted by a unit of Raj Rifles led by Major Naveen through the same treacherous terrain towards Shankar Top came across a shelter which seemingly had been destroyed by an avalanche. As they searched the surrounding area they stumbled upon the mortal remains and managed to secure an army disc and torn clothes.
It was a moment of extreme elation as they recovered the disc from the ruins of the shelter. Just as the waves of happiness settled in, these were replaced by a deep sense of sorrow as the realisation struck that he was one of the bravehearts i.e. a sentinel of the Siachen Glacier,’’ the official said.
He added that 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,” the official said.
He added that after a long wait of 38 years, the family of Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Singh was finally able to give him the last rites that he deserved and gained a closure. The sacrifice made by him and his family will never be forgotten by the nation, he said.
Harbola’s wife Shanti Devi, originally from Almora, currently lives in Saraswati Vihar Colony in Haldwani area of Uttarakhand.
Shanti Devi told reporters in Haldwani that at the time of Harbola’s martyrdom, 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 Harbola had last arrived home in January 1984, during which he had promised to return soon. However, Shanti Devi said she was proud of her husband as he prioritised his service towards the country over the promises made to the family.
According to information available, Harbola, a resident of Dwarahat in Almora, had enlisted in the army in 1975.