Two Army Majors were on Friday decorated with the country's second highest peace-time gallantry medal Kirti Chakra, including one posthumously, for their bravery during counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir.
President Pratibha Patil presented the medals that were among the 69 gallantry and service decorations including 23 Shaurya Chakras and 15 Param Vishist Seva Medals conferred on personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and other allied defence services at an investiture ceremony in New Delhi.
Major Amit Oscar Fernandes won the second highest gallantry medal for his raw courage, extreme determination and timely action in saving the lives of his comrades, while eliminating three hardcore terrorists in Baramulla on November 16, 2008.
He had, during a search and destroy operation, spotted the movement of terrorists only when they were close to him due to poor visibility and rough terrain.
But the Army officer from 7 Maratha Light Infantry brought down effective fire on the terrorists killing two of them. The third terrorist charged at him, but Fernandes caught the weapon, snatched it and shot the former dead.
Major Suresh Suri had displayed conspicuous act of bravery, comradeship and exemplary leadership and ultimately sacrificed his life after evacuating his injured comrade, despite injuries suffered during a gunfight with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir on September 22 last year.
Suri's wife Pallavi received the Kirti Chakra conferred on her husband posthumously.
He was part of an inner cordon and along with three other ranks entered a house to search for the hideout of terrorists. On the second floor of the house, he found the hideout and in an effort to nab the terrorists scaled the roof, but came under heavy fire.
Despite getting injured, Suri retaliated with fire and lobbed a grenade, killing a terrorist and injuring another. When other members of his team got injured, the Kumaon Regiment officer, who was serving with 13 Rastriya Rifles, ensured their safe evacuation before succumbing to injuries.