Service No : 13625231Y
Place of birth : Rudraprayag(U'Khand)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Havildar
Unit : 4 Para (SF)
Arm/Regt : The Parachute Regiment
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Awards : Sena Medal
Martyrdom : April 5, 2020
Havildar Devendra Singh Rana hailed from Tinsoli village in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand and was born in the year 1981. Son of Shri Bhupal Singh and Smt Kuwanri Devi, he had a brother Ravindra Singh as his sibling. He joined the Army after completing his school education. He belonged to the 4 Para (SF) battalion of the Parachute Regiment, an elite infantry Regiment well known for its daredevil para commandos and numerous bold operations. After serving for sometime, he got married to Ms Vineeta Devi and the couple had a daughter Anchal and son Ayush.
Operation Rangdori Baihk : 01-05 April 2020
During Apr 2020, Hav Devendra Singh’s unit was deployed in the Kashmir valley for counter-insurgency operations. Hav Devendra Singh in his fairly long service had taken part in numerous challenging operations and had gained substantial experience in counter-insurgency operations. Based on the information from the intelligence sources about the infiltration attempt by the terrorists in the Kupwara district, the security forces launched “Op Rangdori Baihk” on 01 Apr 2020. A movement had been noticed near the LOC on 1 April 2020 through drone imagery. This was confirmed on the ground with footprints in the snow not far from the Line of Control. This was followed by a brief exchange of fire with the soldiers of 8 Jat battalion after which the terrorists fled abandoning some of their bags containing ammo. At dawn on 02 April, troops from 41 and 57 Rashtriya Rifles too joined the operation. The troops once again established contact with the terrorists at about 4.30 pm. However the terrorists engaged in heavy fire before slipping off from a ledge. The chase continued, with contact established twice more on 03 and 04 April. It was then decided to launch Para commandos by dropping them by air near the suspected area. Hav Devendra Singh became part of this operation launched by the 4 Para(SF) battalion. Based on the information gathered through UAVs(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) of the Army intelligence network, the operation was planned on 04 Apr 2020 to foil an infiltration attempt in the Karen sector. Sub Sanjiv Kumar was tasked to lead that operation along with a team of para commandos including Hav Devendra Singh. As the suspected area was snow-covered and inaccessible the assault team was planned to be airdropped to integrate an element of surprise too in the operation.
The two squads with six soldiers each of the elite para commandos led by Sub Sanjiv Kumar were airdropped by ALH -Dhruv Helicopter in the suspected area as planned in poor visibility conditions. The Dhruv helicopter dropped them off on a hill feature in waist deep snow. The team immediately set off for their mission, wading through 8-10 feet of snow. After nearly five hours, the lead scout Ptr Chhatrapal Singh noticed suspicious movement and alerted his team. After confirmation by the second scout, Ptr Bal Krishan about the presence of two terrorists, Sub Sanjiv Kumar quickly deployed his two squads tactically to close in from two sides. One squad was to attack from the front, while the other squad was tasked to climb onto the nearby heights and open fire as the support team when required. As Sub Sanjiv Kumar signaled his men to fire, heavy firing erupted at the terrorists sitting at the tree roots. But taking advantage of the darkness and thick foliage, the terrorist managed to escape. Tracking their movements further, it became clear that the terrorists had been cornered into a part of Kupwara’s dense Zurhama forest lower down the hill feature.
Finally a contact with the terrorists was established in the evening. Sub Sanjiv Kumar along with his squads then tried to close in with the terrorist location. He deployed the two squads on two spurs overlooking the nallah to have dominating position from two sides. However, the soldiers of the second squad realized too late that they were on an ice cornice, which was an overhanging mass of hardened snow at the edge of a mountain precipice. It broke under their weight and the leading scouts Ptr Chhatrapal Singh and Ptr Bal Krishan fell into a frozen mountain stream, right into where the terrorists were hiding. They were mercilessly fired upon by the terrorists. Sub Sanjiv Kumar along with Ptr Amit Kumar immediately surged ahead into the nallah to rescue them. Hav Devendra Singh who was carrying a radio set and also medical supplies followed Ptr Amit Kumar. While Ptr Amit Kumar provided covering fire, Sub Sanjiv Kumar unmindful of his personal safety, under intense fire from the terrorists evacuated one of the scouts from the contact site. He then moved forward to retrieve the other scout when he came under intense fire from the hiding terrorists. In the meantime, Ptr Amit Kumar was shot with several rounds injuring him seriously. Undeterred he kept on firing with his PIKA gun giving cover fire to Sub Sanjiv Kumar. When Hav Devendra Singh reached close to Ptr Amit Kumar, he found him severely injured and decided to evacuate him after administering first aid. However Hav Devendra Singh too was shot by several rounds during his attempt at evacuating Ptr Amit and bandaging him with supplies from the medial kit. Realizing the imminent danger to his squad members, Sub Sanjiv Kumar charged towards the hiding terrorists and neutralized one terrorist at very close range. Thereafter, Sub Sanjiv Kumar in a daring act crawled towards the other terrorists and engaged them in hand-to-hand combat seriously injuring them. In the intense close-quarter fight that ensued, Sub Sanjiv Kumar sustained a gunshot wound. Hav Devendra Singh, Ptr Chhatrapal Singh and Ptr Bal Krishan succumbed to their injuries and were martyred in the battle zone itself. The other injured soldiers were airlifted to a nearby military hospital but they too succumbed to their grievous injuries and were martyred. Besides Hav Devendra Singh the other martyred soldiers included Sub Sanjiv Kumar, Ptr Bal Krishan, Ptr Amit Kumar, and Ptr Chhatrapal Singh.
Hav Devendra Singh was a valiant and determined soldier, who laid down his life in the line of his duty. Hav Devendra Singh was given the gallantry award, “Sena Medal” on 26 Jan 2021 for his exceptional courage, devotion to duty, and supreme sacrifice. Hav Devendra Singh Rana is survived by his wife Smt Vineeta Devi, daughter Anchal and son Ayush.