Remains of soldier found 38 years later after he went missing in Siachen

Updated on Aug 14, 2022 10:23 PM IST

Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Harbol, who joined the Kumaon Regiment in 1971, was part of a five-member patrol when an avalanche hit it.

Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Harbol went missing in 1984. (HT PHOTO)
Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Harbol went missing in 1984. (HT PHOTO)
ByAnkur Sharma

The remains of a soldier from Uttarakhand’s Haldwani, who went missing in Siachen in 1984, have been found 38 years later at the world’s highest battlefield.

Shanti Devi, 63, the widow of Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Harbol, said officials from the army’s 19 Kumaon Regiment informed her about the recovery on Sunday.

She said her mind went blank and she could barely say anything when she was told the body was found on Saturday in an old bunker at Siachen. “It has been nearly 38 years. And slowly all the past wounds opened up again…I was 25 when he went missing. We got married in 1975. When he went missing nine years later, my two daughters were very young. One was four and another a year and a half,” said Devi, who never married again.

“We performed his tarpan [the offering of water to the dead] and I dedicated my life to raising my children. Despite many hurdles and challenges, I raised my children as a proud mother and a brave wife of a martyr.”

The family was expected to get the remains on Tuesday. “Officials, people from our village and nearby areas are coming here. He is our hero. As the country is remembering the sacrifices of our soldiers, I am sure his sacrifice will also be remembered.”

Kavita, Harbol’s daughter who is now 42, said they did not know whether to be happy or sad. “He has been long gone. We never expected he will be found after such a long time. We were told a metallic disc with the army number helped in identifying his remains. But at least we will get solace now and closure of sorts after conducting his last rites as per the Hindu tradition. Papa has come home but I wish he was alive and could celebrate Independence Day with all here ”.

Harbol, who joined the Kumaon Regiment in 1971, was part of a five-member patrol when an avalanche hit it. Neither his nor the bodies of the other four could be found. Their regiment was part of India’s pre-emptive action to stop Pakistan from capturing strategic areas in the glacier in April 1984 as part of Operation Meghdoot.

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