Spectators gathered at the Rajpath to witness the Republic Day function had a moment of pride when their hero -- Mohan Chand Sharma, who laid down his life fighting terrorists during the Batla house encounter -- was accorded the highest gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra.
Maya Sharma, wife of the slain police officer, walked up to the podium to receive the honour from President Pratibha Patil amid accolades from thousands of people, including foreign invitees.
Sharma had led a seven-member team to the Batla House last year in New Delhi on a tip-off that suspected terrorists, involved in the serial blasts in the capital, were hiding there.
As soon as Sharma entered the complex in the Batla House area, he received the first burst of fire from the terrorists holed up inside a flat. In the subsequent exchange of fire, two terrorist were killed and one captured.
Sharma showed exemplary courage and devotion to duty in fighting the terrorists and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation, a citation at the Rajpath said on Monday.
Ashok Chakra is awarded for the "most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice" during peace time other than facing the enemy courageously during war.
Sharma, who joined the Delhi Police in 1989, got an out-of-turn promotion six years later to become an inspector. He was transferred to the special cell of Delhi Police in 1998 and since then has been involved in fighting terrorist networks in New Delhi as well as in Jammu and Kashmir.