THIS INDEPENDENCE Day, the list of gallantry award winners had two unusual names. Unusual, because they weren’t from the army like such winners typically are, but from the postal department.
The Government of India has decided to honour two postal department officials from the Uttar Pradesh circle with the Kirti Chakra posthumously. The Kirti Chakra is the second most important Indian military award and is awarded for self-sacrifice and valour.
Dayanand Pandey and Mohammad Shan Ahmad were shot dead by miscreants, in two separate incidents, while they were trying to protect government money. The Department of Posts, UP Circle, had recommended their names for the Ashoka Chakra. The department has also offered jobs to Ahmad’s son Firoz and Pandey’s daughter Priyanka on compassionate grounds.
Pandey was shot dead on August 8, 2005 at the Akbarpur post office, when unidentified men entered the post office and attempted to take off with Rs 3.38 lakh in cash. However, Pandey fought the assailants and managed to save the government money, but lost his life in the process. He was then postal assistant in the Department of Posts.
Ahmad was gunned down in Jhansi on December 26, 2005 while he was on his way back from a bank with Rs 16.2 lakh in cash. A gang of six masked looters attacked him and tried to snatch the bag. When he resisted, the attackers shot him and fled with the bag. Ahmad did not let go of the bag till the attackers shot him twice in the chest.
“This is the first time postal department employees have been conferred with such a prestigious award,” said Abha Singh, director, postal services.
“Firoz has already joined postal services at the Jhansi sub-post office. But we are still waiting for our directorate’s approval for Priyanka Pandey’s appointment. Priyanka has done her Master’s in economics and I’m sure she is going to be an asset to the department,” she added.
“My mother received a letter from the Home Ministry on Thursday, informing her that my father has been bestowed with the Kirti Chakra. We are happy that both the Government of India and Department of Posts has recognised his sacrifice. My father devoted his life to his work and died because of his devotion,” Firoz told HT.