The Bombay high court on Tuesday has asked the Maharashtra government to consider honouring all the police personnel who sacrificed their lives during the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai.
“See, it is team work, and if you have honoured some senior police officials who laid (down ) their lives, you should also consider honouring (the) remaining police personnel,” the division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice RD Dhanuka said.
The judges were referring to the fact that only three senior police officers, killed by sole surviving 26/11 attacker, Ajmal Amir Kasab and his slain buddy partner Abu Ismail, were conferred the Ashok Chakra in 2009.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar contending that while 20 police personnel laid down their lives during the 26/11 attacks, only three senior officers were appropriately honoured.
The then Maharashtra ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte, and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, killed during the terror strike, have been conferred with Ashoka Chakra, the highest gallantry award in India.
Tirodkar pointed out that 20 police personnel laid down their lives in the service of the nation during the attacks, and that some of them like police sub-inspector Shashank Shinde and additional commissioner of police Sadanand Date had set examples of bravery while taking on arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Kasab and his slain accomplice Ismail. He said they deserved to be honoured appropriately.
The court agreed with the former journalist and told public prosecutor Pandurang Pol to see whether the state government could honour the remaining police personnel posthumously. “We do understand that not everyone could be conferred with Ashoka Chakra, but you can certainly honour deserving personnel, who sacrificed their lives,” the judges said.
The court, however, directed the former journalist to delete one of his prayers seeking directions to the government to take steps to withdraw Ashok Chakra conferred upon Karkare, Kamte and Salaskar.
In his PIL, Tirodkar alleged the three slain officers had failed to act in accordance with the call of their duty and their conduct was actually a taint on the force. According to him, the slain officers simply stood outside the gate of Cama and Albless Hospital and were shot dead by Kasab and Abu Ismail.
Tirodkar accordingly deleted the prayer as ordered by the court.