Naib Subedar Chunni Lal was no plastic hero and his gallantry no flash in the pan. Though decorated with medals for outstanding valour twice, on the Siachen glacier and during Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir, Chunni Lal never let past laurels dull his soldierly instincts.
On Sunday, the gutsy 39-year-old soldier made the supreme sacrifice but not before eliminating three terrorists in a fierce firefight in the Kupwara sector. The team he led killed another two. It is the likes of Chunni Lal that make a fighting force formidable.
On the night of June 23, troops of a battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) observed some suspicious movement near the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of Kupwara. A search party led by Chunni Lal was launched in the wee hours of Sunday. The troops managed to eliminate two terrorists. Coming to the rescue of his comrades, Chunni Lal charged at the terrorists without caring for his own safety. The JCO, though wounded and profusely bleeding, continued to fire at the terrorists until the remaining three were killed.
Young Chunni Lal proved his mettle shortly after joining the JAK LI in 1984. He played an important role in capturing the now famous 'Bana Post' located at 21,153 feet on the Siachen Glacier. His gallantry earned him the Sena Medal. In 1999, he repelled an attempted intrusion by terrorists. For this, he was decorated with the Vir Chakra. Chunni Lal was also a part of the Indian Army's peacekeeping contingent in Sudan. His Battalion received the United Nations' Citation for valour.