Param Veer Chakra is country’s highest Gallantry decoration, awarded for the most conspicuous bravery or pre-eminent act of highest degree of valour or self sacrifice, exceptional courage and determination in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea, or in the air. It can be, and often has been, awarded posthumously. It can be awarded to officers, soldiers or any other enlisted personnel from all branches of the Indian Armed Forces.
Param Vir Chakra medal has mostly been awarded posthumously because our brave army often sacrifices their life for the security of the country, rarely awarded to the living personals.
This is the highest military honor and the second highest government award offered to courageous military officials and personnel of the Indian Armed Forces.
Lance Naik Albert Ekka
During the 1971 Indo-Pak War, the 14 Guards was asked to capture a Pakistani position at Gangasagar, 6½ km west of Agartala in the eastern sector. It was a well-fortified position, held in good strength by the enemy. The reduction of this position was considered necessary as it was the key to the capture of Akhaura.
The 14 Guards launched an attack on enemy positions at 0400 hours on 4 December 1971. Lance Naik Ekka went with the left forward company of the battalion in the attack. The assaulting Indian troops were subjected to intense shelling and small arms fire by the enemy.
Lance Naik Ekka observed that an enemy light machine gun was belching deadly fire from a bunker, causing heavy casualties to his company. Unmindful about his personal safety, he charged the enemy bunker, bayoneted two enemy soldiers and silenced the light machine gun. Though seriously injured in this encounter, he continued to fight alongside his comrades with courage, securing bunker after bunker.
After battling through a distance of 1½ km, when Lance Naik Ekka and his comrades reached the northern end of the objective, an enemy medium machine gun opened up from the second storey of a well-fortified building. It inflicted heavy casualties on the Indian troops and help up their progress.
Once again Lance Naik Ekka, rose to the occasion. Unmindful of his personal safety, he crawled to the building and hurled a grenade into the bunker. One enemy soldier was killed and the other injured. But the medium machine gun could not be silenced. Lance Naik Ekka then scaled the sidewall to enter the bunker. He bayoneted the enemy holding the bunker and silenced the deadly weapon. This saved his company from further casualties and ensured success.
Lance Naik Ekka died of the injuries suffered during this battle. As a result of the fall of Gangasagar, the southern and south-western flanks of Akhaura were exposed and the enemy rear was threatened. Consequently the enemy was forced to vacate Akhaura.
Lance Naik Albert Ekka was awarded Pram Vir Chakra, the highest wartime gallantry medal, posthumously, for displaying the conspicuous bravery and determination.
This Rs. 3 stamp was released on the occasion of India’s 50th Republic Day celebrations on 26th January 2000.
Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon
It’s a glory to die doing one’s duty and keeping the traditions of the Indian Air Force in the family, Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon made a supreme sacrifice in the 1971 war that changed the outlook of the world. He was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, in recognition of his lone defence of Srinagar Air Base against a PAF air raid during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. He is the only member of the Indian Air Force to be so honoured
Being a son of an ex- Air Force Pilot, Flight Lieutenant Tarlochan Singh Sekhon, Nirmaljit too joined the Air Force. He got commissioned on June 4, 1967.
During the 1971 war he was deployed with no. 18 squadron, ‘the flying bullets’ of IAF, flying the Gnat’s aircraft based at Srinagar. Just two days before the war came to an end, Srinagar airfield was attacked by six Pakistan Sabre jets. As soon as the first aircraft attacked, he rolled for take-off no 2 in two gnat formation. Meanwhile the Pakistan jets kept firing. Nirmal could not take-off at once due to the cloud of dust raised by another aircraft which had just taken off.
In the ensuing battle, Sekhon hit one aircraft directly and set another ablaze. He was advised to return to the base as he was outnumbered and hit. His ejection proved futile. The wreckage of the aircraft was found in a gorge. Despite many search operations his body was never found.
The pilot who shot him, Wing Commander Salim Beig, has praised him in his article. He said “The Indian pilot Flg Off Nirmal Jeet Singh Sekhon put up a brave fight and was awarded Param Veer Chakra.”
Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon was only 28 years when he gave up his life for the country and is the only Air Force Pilot to have received Param Veer Chakra.
Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal
16 December 1971, the Squadron Commander of ‘B’ Squadron, the Poona Horse asked for reinforcement as the Pakistani Armour which was superior in strength, counter attacked at Jarpal, in the Shakargarh Sector. On hearing this transmission, 2nd Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal who was in ‘A’ Squadron, voluntarily moved along with his troop, to assist the other squadron.
En route, while crossing the Basantar River, Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal and his troop came under fire from enemy strong points and RCL gun nests that were still holding out. Time was at a premium and as critical situation was developing in the ‘B’ Squadron sector, Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, threw caution to the winds and started attacking the impending enemy strong points by literally charging them, overrunning the defence works with his tanks and capturing the enemy infantry and weapon crew at pistol point.
When the commander of his troops was killed. Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal continued to attack relentlessly until all enemy opposition was overcome and he broke through towards the ‘B’ Squadron position, just in time to see the enemy tanks pulling back after their initial probing attack on this squadron. He was so carried away by the wild enthusiasm of battle and the impetus of his own headlong dash that he started chasing the withdrawing tanks and even managed to shoot and destroy one.
Soon thereafter, the enemy reformed with a squadron of armour for a second attack and this time they selected the sector held by Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal and two other tanks as the points for their main effort. A fierce tank fight ensured ten enemy tanks were hit and destroyed of which Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal was severely wounded. He was asked to abandon his tank but he realised that the enemy though badly decimated was continuing to advance in his sector of responsibility and if he abandoned his tank the enemy would break through, he gallanty fought on and destroyed another enemy tank, At this stage his tank received a second hit which resulted in the death of this gallant officer.
Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal was dead but he had, by his intrepid valour saved the day; the enemy was denied the breakthrough they were so desperately seeking. Not a single enemy tank got through. Second Lieutenant Arun
Khetarpal had shown the best qualities of leadership, tenacity of purpose and the will to close in with the enemy. This was an act of courage and self-sacrifice far beyond the call of duty.
Colonel (Then Major) Hoshiar Singh Dahiya
The 3rd Battalion of the Grenadiers Regiment was in the forefront of the advance of 54 Inf. Div. in Shakargarh sector on the western front on the night of December 5th. The 3 Grenadiers, under the dynamic command of Lt Col V P Airy, made quick gains in the first ten days of the war. On December 15th, it was assigned the task of establishing a bridge-head across the Basantar river. The river was covered with deep minefields on both sides and protected by
The river was covered with deep minefields on both sides and protected by well fortified defense by the enemy. Major Hoshiar Singh, Commander of ‘C’ (left forward) Company, launched an attack across the enemy minefield on Jarpal. As it was a well fortified enemy position, the company came under intense shelling and crossfire from medium machine guns and suffered heavy casualties.
The 3 Grenadiers bravely continued the assault and achieved the set objective. The enemy bunkers were cleared only after fierce hand-to-hand fighting. Pakistanis reacted to the loss of Jarpal by launching counter attacks, two of them supported by armour, to dislodge the 3 Grenadiers on December 16th. Major Singh, unmindful of the enemy shelling and tank fire, went from trench to trench, encouraging his men to remain steadfast and continue fight.
Inspired by his courage and leadership, his company repulsed all attacks, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. On December 17th, the enemy mounted yet another attack in battalion strength with heavy artillery in support. Though wounded seriously in enemy shelling, Major Singh again went alone from trench to trench, at times moving in the open too. When an enemy shell landed near his medium machine gun post, injuring the crew, Major Hoshiar Singh rushed to the enemy machine gun pit and operated the gun inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.
Pakistanis beat a hasty retreat leaving behind 85 dead, including their Commanding Officer – Lt Colonel Mohammed Akram Raja and three other officers. Throughout this operation, Major Singh displayed the most conspicuous gallantry, grim determination and indomitable spirit. With grit, courage and complete disregard to his personal safety he inspired his command to perform outstanding acts of gallantry and defeated repeated enemy attempts to recapture the locality.
The steadfastness and dauntless courage displayed by Major Hoshiar Singh were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Army, and his refusal to be evacuated despite his serious wounds was an act beyond the call of duty. He was honoured with the highest wartime gallantry medal of India, the Param Vir Chakra.
Honorary (Then Naib Subedar ) Captain Bana Singh
When the bugle calls, they shall rise again and answer. Siachen, the highest battlefield in the world has taken lives of many lionhearted Indian soldiers.
At an altitude of more than 20000 feet, the Siachen glacier is an unassailable and invulnerable glacier 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 toilsome route. He, along with his men, moved from trench to trench charging with a bayonet. They crawled, they charged, the faced the icy cold winds, the snow laden ground and cleared the posts of all intruders.
The taskforce led by Naib Subedar Bana Singh started their heroics in extreme darkness facing heavy snowstorm. According to Bana Singh, the Pakistani intruders had never thought that Indian soldiers can take such a dangerous route because of the extreme foul weather. The complacency of the Pakistani troops led to their downfall.
As soon as 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. Mostly SSG personnel were deployed by Pakistan 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 air burst ammunitions.
One of the members of the Indian troop, Sepoy Om Raj had lost his hand in this intense operation. In spite of 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 in the morning of June 27th, 1987. Sensing the stupendous bravery, he fiercely hugged Subedar Bana Singh as his troops. At a temperature as low as minus 70 degree 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 as the Bana post to honour 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.