Param Vir Chakra (PVC ) Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria

Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria was born on 29th November 1935 in Gurdaspur, Punjab. He did his schooling from Banglore Military School, Banglore and later on shifted to the King George School, Jalandhar. In his later adult age he joined the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla having the cadet number 1317 and got selected in the ‘Bravo’ squad. Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria was an epitome of leadership and valor. He was the sixth recipient of the higest gallantary award the Param Vir Chakra that was accredited to him posthumoustly for his unflinching devotion for his duty and dauntless actions in preventing the Katangese rebels from trapping the UN headquarters in Elizabethville, Katanga.

Military Life

Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria was appointed in the 1st Gorkha Rifles; the Maluan Regiment on June 9th 1957 he was assigned in the third battalion of the Regiment. When the Belgians had quit Congo, a civil war had evolved as an aftermath in the country. The United Nations decided to put a stop to this unrest in the country for which India also decided to contribute a brigade consisting of 3000 men to U.N force. It was a very crucial and violent situation in the country particualry the UN personnels were the main target of the Katanga’s secessionist leader who was escalating the hate campaingn against the UN. In the year 1961 Captain Gurbachan was posted with his battalion in abroad; Katanga, as a part of Military Intervention from the side of India in the Congo Crisis.

Attack of Elizabethville, Katanga

It was December 5th 1961 when the Gorkha Rifles was delegated the responsibility of clearing a road-block created by constabulary at Elizabthville, Katanga. The plan was preconceived that one company along with two Swedish armored cars would attack from the front whereas Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria will take two sections of Gorkhas and two Swedish armoured personnel carriers with him and would pursue the attack from the airfield. The moment Captain Gurbachan arrived near the road-block at a distance if 1500 yards he came under a sever attack of small-arms firing from an useen and predeterminded positions of the enemy. The enemy had armoured cars of 90 men that were ready to attack Captain Gurbachan and his small section of men force. While seeing his sections being trapped by the enemy, he decided to terminate every single member of the enemy crew. Gurbachan ran into a subsidiary road-block in order to hide himself for the moment and planned his strategy to end the enemy. He then took up the charge with khukris, knifes and grenades sustained by a rocket launcher. Nothing could stop Captain Gurbachan, then he bayoneted 40 men of the enemy crew and trashed two armored cars.

The enemy was completely astonished to see such bravado of Gurbachan Singh in front of them and this made them so frightened that even being bigger in numbers they rather decided to back out and fled away. Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria was badly wounded in his neck and had a severe blood loss but he still continued to fight the battle because he was much more concerned and focused towards his responsibility of succeeding in the operation. His gallantary actions made him achieve his operation, he was successful in rescuing the UN headquarters and motivated the small strength of his men force to fight against a big number of enemies. He subsequently died of his injuries. But his persistent leadership spirit made him a deserving receiver of the Param Vir Chakra.

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