New Delhi, Aug.20 ANI | 1 year ago

Eighteen years after he went missing in the forbidding Siachen-Saltoro Ridge region, Havaldar Gaya Prasad's body was handed over to his family on Wednesday and is being taken to his remote hometown village of Kurariain Uttar Pradesh's Mainpuri District.

His final rites will be performed with full military honours in front of his octogenarian father Subedar Gajadhar Singh (Retired), his wife Rama Devi, son Satish, daughters Meena and Manju, and others on Thursday.

Army officers on Tuesday said Havaldar Gaya Prasad's body was now at the Leh military hospital after being brought down from the Northern Glacier, where temperatures can dip to minus 50-60 degree Celsius, in a Cheetah helicopter.

Havaldar Gaya Prasad was reported missing in December 1996 while Indian and Pakistani troops were engaged in a heavy round of cross firing at the world's highest, coldest and costliest battlefield

His body was reportedly recovered from a deep crevice near the Khanda Drop Zone. He had till now been declared a 'battle casualty' with full pension benefits to his family.

Havaldar Gaya Prasad's body was discovered and retrieved around a week ago by soldiers who were on a routine patrol. They saw a hand sticking out of the snow in the glacier, and on digging, they discovered Prasad's body. He was identified by his dog-tag and service card, which said that he was attached to the 15 Rajput battalion.

Since 1984, when Indian troops beat Pakistani soldiers by a whisker to occupy most of the dominating heights on Saltoro Ridge, India has lost around 900 soldiers in the region. Pakistan has lost many more.

On wednesday, Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh, paid tribute to Havildar Gaya Prasad.

His mortal remains were flown from Leh to Delhi and are being transported by road to his village.

(Posted on 21-08-2014)

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