The braveheart commandos from 21 Para (Special Forces) behind the June 9 cross-border raid against insurgents in Myanmar made a sweep of gallantry awards on the eve of the 69th Independence Day as they won seven honours, including a Kirti Chakra and a Shaurya Chakra.
Lieutenant Colonel Nectar Sanjenbam, who led the assault in the wake of a rebel ambush in Manipur, was awarded the Kirti Chakra, India’s second-highest peacetime gallantry award. Havildar Tanka Kumar Limbu was awarded the Shaurya Chakra, the third-highest peacetime gallantry award. Five commandos from 21 Para (SF) were chosen for the Sena Medal.
Indian paratroopers conducted cross-border raids on two insurgent camps in Myanmar across the Manipur and Nagaland borders inflicting “significant casualties” five days after 18 soldiers were killed in Manipur’s Chandel district in the worst attack on security forces in 20 years.
The 68 gallantry award winners from the army, air force and navy include an IAF pilot who helped troops hold their ground during last September’s standoff with Chinese army personnel at Chumar in Ladakh sector by flying water and basic supplies in 32 sorties.
Flight Lieutenant Gandikota Jagan Mohan was awarded the Vayu Sena medal for operating in tense conditions last year at Chumar’s Pt 4991, the control of which means a firm hold over 480sqkm of disputed border area.
Policemen too were recognised for their valour with 824 personnel from central and state forces being awarded gallantry and other service medals. The top honour of the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG) was given to one officer from Meghalaya and three from Punjab, including SP Baljit Singh, who died during the July 27 attack on a police station in Punjab’s Gurdaspur by three-heavily armed militants who were later gunned down by security forces.
Singh’s colleagues inspector Balbir Singh and head constable Tara Singh, and Meghalaya police DSP TC Chacko were also conferred the honour.
Continuing its six-year winning run, the CRPF was yet again chosen for the most police medals for gallantry – 64 -- largely for operations in the Left-wing extremism hit states. The force’s second-in-command rank officer HK Jha also became the lone paramilitary officer to be decorated with the Shaurya Chakra for his daring action in an anti-Maoist operation last year in Bihar.