Capt Pratap Singh, son of Capt Khazan Singh, was born on 17 Jan 1960 in Basai Darapur New Delhi. He did his initial study from Sherwood College Nainital and later graduated in English literature from Hansraj College Delhi before joining the Indian Army. His father had fought in the second world war and subsequent operations of the Indian Army and had won many medals. His two elder brothers also served in the Armed forces, while one brother joined Indian Air Force, the other brother went on to command an AD regiment of the Army. Sadly, his eldest brother in the Air Force was killed in an air crash while flying Jaguar aircraft.
Following his family tradition, Capt Pratap Singh joined the Army and was commissioned into the regiment of artillery on 27th August 1983. After serving with his unit, 75 Med Regt for a couple of years, Capt Pratap Singh was posted to the Siachen area which had become very active and volatile after skirmishes with Pakistani forces in 1987.
Operation Meghdoot: 26 May 1988
In 1988 Capt Pratap Singh was posted at the Sonam outpost in Siachen area as an Observation Post Officer. Soon after he was called upon to defend the Bana post which is considered strategically very important for the defences in that area the adversary made repeated attempts to retake a key post vital for the defence of Siachen. However, these attempts were foiled by our vigilant forces. Again on 9th May 1988,the enemy commando group made a very vicious attack to retake the post using ropes and a ladder system on the ice wall below the post for the purpose. This attack was successfully beaten back. The ropes and ladder system fixed by the adversary, however, remained in position, making it possible for them to use it again in their fresh attempts to take the post. It was imperative that the fixed ropes were cut and the ladder unfixed to prevent fresh attacks.
On 18 May 1988, Second Lieutenant Ashok Chaudhry was able to reach and cut two of the four ropes. On 26 May 1988, it was decided to cut the remaining two fixed ropes and unfix the ladder. Capt Pratap Singh undertook this mission with the help of a jawan descending down the ice wall. On reaching the location, Capt Pratap Singh found a large quantity of ammunition and grenades lying at the head of the ropes. As he was examining them, a grenade booby trap exploded, severely wounding him in his right arm and chest. Despite being severely wounded, the brave officer crawled forward to the fixed ropes and cut them with his knife. He then un-fixed the ladder system and let it fall down the ice wall. The gallant officer inched back to his own rope to return to the post but collapsed and succumbed to his injuries. Capt Pratap Singh thus displayed conspicuous gallantry in eliminating a grave threat to a key post of Siachen at the cost of his life.
Capt Pratap Singh was given the nation’s second-highest gallantry award “Maha Vir Chakra” for his conspicuous gallantry, indomitable spirit, and supreme sacrifice.