Names of the 10 soldiers who laid their lives in the line of duty on Wednesday (3 February) owing to a deadly avalanche in the Siachen Glacier were released on Friday by the Ministry of Defence.
The soldiers belonging to the Madras Regiment had little chance to protect themselves as tonnes of snow covered them in no time, making it even tough for the rescuers to even retrieve their bodies despite the best efforts of both men and machine combined.
The graveness of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the Army is even having difficulties in contacting the rescue team which had gone to trace the bodies.
While four soldiers were from Tamil Nadu, three of them were natives of Karnataka. The states of Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh lost a brave son each in the tragedy. Following are names of the martyrs along with details of their ranks and their native places:
(1) Subedar Nagesha TT r/o vill Tejur, Hassan Dist, Karnataka.
(2) Havildar Elumalai M r/o vill Dukkam Parai, Vellore Dist, Tamil Nadu.
(3) Lance Havildar S Kumar r/o vill Kumanan Thozhu, Teni Dist, Tamil Nadu.
(4) Lance Naik Sudheesh B r/o vill Monroethuruth, Kollam Dist, Kerala.
(5) Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad r/o vill Betadur , Dharwad Dist, Karnataka.
(6) Sepoy Mahesha PN r/o vill HD Kote, Mysore Dist, Karnataka.
(7) Sepoy Ganesan G r/o village Chokkathevan Patti, Madurai Dist, Tamil Nadu.
(8) Sepoy Rama Moorthy N r/o vill Gudisatana Palli , Krishna Giri Dist, Tamil Nadu.
(9) Sep Mustaq Ahmed S r/o vill Parnapalle, Kurnool Dist, Andhra Pradesh.
(10) Sepoy Nursing Assistant Suryawanshi SV r/o village Maskarwadi, Satara Dist, Maharashtra
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday mourned the loss of these soldiers on Twitter. "Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Condolences to their families," Modi had tweeted.
Reports had said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and deep distress on the confirmation of the demise of the ten Army personnel.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had also tweeted, saying he was "very sad to know that 10 of our brave soldiers lost their lives."
The situation was already grim as a defence spokesman had earlier said that chances of finding any survivors were "very remote" after the deadly avalanche hit the affected army post at an altitude of 19,600 feet.
"Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote," Defence PRO (Northern Command) Col SD Goswami had said in a statement in Jammu.
The Siachen Glacier in the Karakorum range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world. Thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops contest an area at altitudes above 20,000 feet where they must deal with altitude sickness, high winds, frostbite and temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.
An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat, local media reports have said.