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E-Mail this column to a friend 'We decided we would win Tiger Hill, no matter what the cost'

Havildar Yogender Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers: Param Vir Chakra winner    

Havildar Yogender Singh Yadav Havildar Yogender Singh Yadav was upset when the ministry of defence announced that he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously. The brave soldier from Bullandshahar in Uttar Pradesh, then undergoing treatment at the base hospital in Delhi, immediately contacted his officers and asked them the reason for the incorrect announcement.

Army headquarters immediately swung into action and started verifying where things had gone wrong. Eventually, it was discovered that there were two jawans by the same name. While one had been killed in action, the other was on the injured list. The names of the fathers were verified and it was formally announced that the jawan awarded the highest gallantry award was the one on the injured list.

''After our regiment won back the Tololing peak from Pakistani intruders, the regiment was given the name 'Tigers' by Commander Joshi. The battle of Tololing was one of the bloodiest battles, but the task ahead of us was even more dangerous and tedious.

We were assigned the job of clearing Tiger Hill. Not just India, the entire world was keenly awaiting the outcome of this battle for the control of Tiger Hill. When the selection of the Ghatak team was being made, there was a bit of thinking in the regiment. It was eventually decided that the advance party would be led by Captain Balwan Singh.

Even before we embarked upon the mission of our lives, we were given a slogan by our commander 'Victory or Martyrdom' (Vijay ya Virgati). The weather was not favourable to us. Snow blizzards started blowing. The enemy fire was very heavy. We were to begin our operation at night. It was the night of July 3/4, when we were asked to march on. We made slow progress towards our aim but we knew we were on the right track. Within hours we managed to capture one of the positions from the enemy. In the process we lost two of our colleagues.

Their martyrdom acted as a source of inspiration for us and we took a pledge that we would not let their sacrifice be wasted. We decided we would win Tiger Hill, no matter what the cost.

The battle was getting bloody. We lost four more jawans, but managed to destroy another bunker where the enemy had been holing out. We took control of the bunker. Each soldier who laid down his life, inspired me to continue. Those of us who survived were determined to reach the top of the hill. Now it really did not matter whether we all lived or lost our lives.

We were at the crucial stage of our operation. The peak was so near and looked within our reach. Though we had taken care of most of the enemy, some were still hanging on to their automatic weapons and firing at us. The difficulty on reaching the top still loomed large over us. But our Captain Balwan Singh egged us on. We split into two parties. While one led by him took care of the enemy on the slopes, I along with handful of soldiers who had survived were fighting the intruders and inching towards the top.

We were losing men. While some sacrificed their lives, the others were injured. I was hit by bullets one after another. Four of them were lodged in my arm, legs etc. I was badly injured, but there were some enemy soldiers who were still firing at us. I decided we would have to take the risk. Eventually, we managed to kill the remaining Pakistani intruders and hoist the tricolour on top of Tiger Hill.

Once the battle was over we counted the dead bodies of the enemy. There were seventy in all at various positions. When we look back, we realise the snow blizzards gave us a tremendous advantage. It was not easy. We had to not only fight the enemy but we had to also climb up at the same time. It took another four, five hours to clear the rest of the enemy positions on the slopes.

Param Vir Chakra winner Havildar Yogender Singh Yadav, who was joined by his mother and wife at the Republic Day awards ceremony, spoke to Onkar Singh.


Param Vir Chakra winner Rifleman Sanjay Kumar

Param Vir Chakra winner Captain Vikram Batra

Param Vir Chakra winner Captain Manoj Pandey

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