Late Naib Subedar Sh. Chuni Lal
Late Naib Subedar Sh. Chuni Lal AC (P), VrC, SM, a true hero of Doda District, lived an extraordinary life and was awarded by three bravery awards Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra and Sena Medal (Gallantry) during his services in the army. His life story is an inspiration everyone to live a life less ordinary.
He was born in 6 March of 1968 in Bhaderwah, and basically from Gandhari Paddar and lived in Bhara village in District Doda of Jammu. Late Naib Subedar Sh. Chuni Lal was martyred on 24 June 2007 in a militant flush-out operation in Kashmir’s Kupwara sector. These militants, all of whom were also shot dead, were trying to cross the Line of Control (LoC) and enter Indian territory. The success of this militant flush-out operation, which claimed his life, earned him the highest peacetime military decoration awarded for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield, the Ashok Chakra.
In 1984, Lal joined the 8th Battalion, The Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment. In 1987, he volunteered and participated in an operation to capture the quaid post which was later called the Bana Top, located at 21,153 feet in the Siachen Glacier, for which he was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry). During June 1987, the 8th JAK LI, was deployed in the Siachen area. It was then found that a large number of Pakistani infiltrators had intruded over the Siachen Glacier. The ejection of these infiltrators was difficult but necessary and a special task force was constituted for this purpose. Chuni Lal and other soldiers of the unit such as Naib Subedar (later Sub Maj and Hony Capt) Bana Singh volunteered to join this force. The Pakistani intrusion had taken place at a height of 6500 metres at the highest peak in the Siachen Glacier area. From this feature the Pakistanis could snipe at Indian army positions since the height gave them a clear view of the entire Saltoro range and Siachen glacier. The Pakistanis called this post ‘Quaid post’ after their founder Quaid-e-azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The enemy post was a glacier fortress with ice walls, 457 metres high, on either side. On 26 June 1987, Naib Subedar Bana Singh led Chuni Lal and other men through an extremely difficult and hazardous route. These men crawled and closed in on the adversary and cleared the post of all intruders. This operation was named as Operation Rajiv and Nb Sub Bana Singh was awarded Param Vir Chakra for courage and bravery.
In 1999, in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir during Operation Rakshak, he fought an attempted intrusion by the Pakistan Army and was instrumental in killing 12 intruders and saved the post from enemy capture. He was awarded the Vir Chakra, for gallantry.
He also did two tenures with the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Somalia and Sudan. Display of exemplary courage by his team in Sudan won his unit a UN citation for valour.
On 21 June 2007, Nb Sub Chuni Lal was promoted naib subedar. After three days later Nb Sub Chuni Lal was in charge of a post in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir and in late night he detected some movement across the fence on the Line of Control. Where an exchange of fire followed, in which Nb Sub Chuni Lal and his two army soldiers were seriously wounded. With disregard to his personal safety, Chuni Lal saved their lives. Anticipating more hidden attackers, he continued to search the area. He saw a third attacker trying to escape. Nb Sub Chuni Lal charged at him with his weapon and killed him. Unfortunately, an exchange fire from the attacker split opened Nb Sub Chunni Lal’s abdomen and he began to lose lot of blood. He took cover behind a rock, continued to fire and did not allow the other attackers to break the cordon. Under his leadership all the attackers were also killed.
For his actions in battle, Nb Sub Chuni Lal was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra on 15 August 2007 for saving the lives of his fellow men, displaying most conspicuous bravery, demonstrating battle field leadership and laying down his life to protect the country.