Anti-Maoist operations in Naxal areas have emerged as the most enduring and tough assignment for the country`s largest paramilitary CRPF and this year, the force has bagged the maximum number of military gallantry medals.
Jharkhand Police Additional SP and CRPF officer, Prakash Ranjan Mishra, has become the only person from paramilitary or police forces to have been decorated with a gallantry medal the seventh time for displaying exemplary courage in anti-Naxal operations.
Mishra, a commando trained officer of the elite CoBRA unit of the Central Reserve Police Force, has been honoured with the Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG) on the eve of the Independence day.
The officer is on a special deputation to Jharkhand police, since May 2013, from CRPF and is currently posted as Additional Superintendent of Police in Naxal-affected Khunti district of the state. He is a Deputy Commandant rank officer in the CRPF.
"No police or paramilitary official has been decorated with gallantry medals seven times. This man is different. Apart from these medals, he has won numerous accolades for bravery from the CRPF Director General and DGP Jharkhand," a senior commanding officer in the anti-Naxal operations grid said.
Mishra's sheer grit and raw courage are evident from the fact that he has been shot five times by Naxalites and has been continuously serving in Maoist-affected areas of Jharkhand for over a decade now.
The latest PMG has been awarded to him for executing a lethal operation last year which killed a sub-zonal Maoist commander in the state and also led to the recovery of sophisticated assault weapons and ammunition.
Owing to his daredevil conduct and similar heroics, the officer is popularly called as 'topgun' in police and guerilla warfare tactics domain.
Mishra, in 2013, was the lone recipient of the coveted military medal 'Shaurya Chakra' among 10 other Army, Indian Air Force and Navy personnel.
He has a track record of getting these medals for his courageous exploits in difficult areas beginning 2009.
He has been awarded the Police Medal for Gallantry in 2009, twice in 2011, 2013, the top medal-- Presidents Police Medal for Gallantry in 2012, 'Shaurya Chakra' in 2013 apart from five commendation discs for operations by the CRPF DG and four by the Jharkhand police chief.
The officer hit headlines after being shot in a Naxal operation in Jharkhand in 2012 and his blood soaked photographs were published across media.
After this near-fatal incident, he was in the hospital for only two months and got back to his favourite job -- counter-insurgency and jungle warfare operations soon after.
"He has shown a constant streak of conducting daring and risky operations since he joined the CRPF in 1997. Despite being on the hit list of the Naxals, he refuses to take a back seat. He was the first one to join the elite CoBRA unit when it was created in 2009," a top CRPF officer had said.