Service No : IC23283
Place of birth : Haryana
Service : Army
Last Rank : Captain
Arm/Regt : The Assam Regiment
Operation : Op Cactus Lily
Martyrdom : December 5, 1971
Captain Giri Raj Singh hailed from Haryana and was born in 1940s. Son of Shri Choudhary Man Singh and Smt Reshmi Devi, he had a brother Ajit Singh as his sibling. After completing his education he got selected to join the Army as a commissioned officer. He was commissioned into the 5 Assam Battalion of the Assam Regiment, an Infantry Regiment with a rich history of gallantry and battle honours.
By the year 1971, he had been promoted to the rank of Captain and had gathered experience of serving in various challenging operational areas. In the later part of 1971 when the war clouds appeared on the horizon his unit got deployed on the western front.
Battle of Chhamb (Indo-Pak war): 04-05 Dec 1971
During the 1971 war, Capt Giri Raj Singh's unit 5 Assam was deployed in the western sector under the operational control of the 191 Infantry Brigade commanded by Brigadier Jasbir Singh. The unit played an important role in the 'Battle of Chhamb'. 191 Inf Bde was functioning under the overall control of 10 Infantry Division commanded by Major General Jaswant Singh. Besides the resources of 191 Inf Bde, 10 Inf Div had combat elements of 28 Infantry Brigade(Responsible for the Defence of Hills Sector in the North), 52 Infantry Brigade(Responsible for the Defence of Jaurian Sector, East of Munawar Tawi), 68 Inf Bde (Corps Reserve) and 10 Div Artillery Brigade. Capt Giri Raj Singh's unit 5 Assam was operating along with the units of 191 Inf Bde which included 5 Sikh (Mandiala Battalion), 4/1 GR (Munawar Battalion), 10 Garhwal Rifles (Munawar Tawi East/ Chhathi Tahli Battalion), ‘A’ Squadron(Sikh) 9H, 57 Battalion BSF, ‘C’ Company 12 Guards (ATGM), ‘A’ Team of 9 Commando Battalion (Para), 81 Field Regiment (Artillery), 12 Field Regiment less Two Batteries, 127 Locating Battery (Artillery) and Company ex 61 Engineer Regiment with effect from 30 Nov 71.
The Indo-Pak war of 1971 officially commenced on 03 Dec 1971 when the Pakistani Air Force attacked various airfields of the IAF. Within hours after the air attack, Pakistan’s 23 Division opened Artillery fire with all its nine Regiments along a 30-40 Kms front in the Chhamb sector. Soon thereafter a well-coordinated attack with armour was launched on the 191 Brigade, which was the only Brigade of 10 Division of Indian Army defending the area west of the Munawar Tawi river at that time. 5 Assam was part of the 191 Brigade and was given the task of blunting the Pakistani attack. Capt Giri Raj Singh’s company was occupying a key position for the defence of Chhamb, when the enemy launched an attack on the night of 04 December 1971.
The attack continued throughout that night and thereafter for sixteen hours but Capt Giri Raj Singh and his troops held on gallantly and thwarted the enemy’s advance. However as the position was of strategic importance to the enemy, it launched another battalion attack on the 5th morning, preceded by heavy artillery fire. Capt Giri Raj Singh led his soldiers in repulsing the attack forcefully. However, after this operation, Capt Giri Raj Singh was not traceable. He is believed to have been captured and taken prisoner, as his body was never found.
A confusion continued to persist about his death, as some of the Prisoners Of War (POW) lodged in a Pakistani jail, later informed about the presence of Capt Giri Raj Singh in Pakistani Jail. In a Pakistan Radio broadcast in August 1972, Capt Giri Raj Singh paid respect to his mother Reshmi Devi and father Chaudhary Man Singh. In 1988, on his return to India, a Kot lakhpat Jail fellow prisoner Bhaskar said he had met Captain Singh in jail. Later Major Ajit Singh (Retd), brother of Capt Giri Raj Singh during his search found many leads/evidences that gave credence to the fact that Capt Giri Raj Singh was being kept as a POW in Pakistan. Major Ajit Singh (Retd) even went to Pakistan in 2007 as part of a delegation of NOK(Next of Kin) of missing soldiers, but there was no fruitful outcome. Pakistan, however never acknowledged the presence of Capt Giri Raj Singh in a Pakistani jail. Presently, Capt Giri Raj Singh’s name features on the official list of the ’54 Personnel Missing in Action’, tabled in the Lok Sabha in 1979 by the then Minister of State of External Affairs Shri Samarendra Kundu.