Soldier who died fighting intruders in Kashmir gets Ashok Chakra
A soldier who died in May while killing four suspected armed intruders in north Kashmir won India’s top peace-time army award as the government announced gallantry medals for more than 1,000 personnel on the eve of Independence Day.
Army Havildar Hangpan Dada – a resident of Arunachal Pradesh -- was posthumously honoured with the Ashok Chakra while National Security Guard lieutenant colonel Niranjan EK was posthumously awarded the Shaura Chakra, the country’s third-highest peace-time army award.
Niranjan EK was head of the NSG’s bomb disposal unit that was rushed to the Pathankot airbase after a militant strike on January 2 but died when a hand grenade strapped to a terrorist’s body explored.
In all, the government announced one Ashok Chakra, 14 Shaurya Chakras, 63 Sena Medals, two Nau Sena Medals and two Vayu Sena Medals.
Three of the seven President’s police medal (PPMG) for gallantry went to Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBP) personnel – Subhash Chandra, Virender Singh and Sunil Bisht -- for thwarting attacks at Indian Consulates at Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad in Afghanistan early this year.
Seven other ITBP personnel Sandip Ghosh, Harinandan Gururani, Sastish Kumar, Mohardhwaj, Dinesh Sharma, Ravindra Singh and Bhoopendra were conferred with the police medal for gallantry (PMG)
A PPMG was given to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) inspector Gulam Nabi Bhat and three more went to policemen from Telangana.
The CRPF, the largest paramilitary force in the country, was decorated with 43 medals – the maximum with most of them going to personnel serving in Maoist violence-affected states.
Three home guards - Bodh Raj, Desh Raj and Sukhdev Singh, who laid down their lives during an attack on Punjab’s Dinanagar police station last year also won the President’s Home Guard and Civil Defence Medal for Gallantry.
The government also announced PMG to 170 personnel, President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service to 88 personnel and Police Medal for Meritorious Service to 683 personnel.
Four fire-service personnel from Maharashtra who died while dousing a massive fire in Mumbai last year have been decorated with the Presidents gallantry medals for fire services.
Officials from the country’s federal anti-corruption agency, Central Bureau of Investigation, got 31 medals.
Notable among them were 2,000 batch IPS officer Ashwini Chand who is part of the team probing Agusta Westland scam and DSP Atul Hajela, who is involved in the probe against Rajendra Kumar, the principal secretary to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.