Special Gallantry Awards were given to great souls in the Indian Armed Forces before the 73rd Republic Day parade started this year. The awards were presented to the honoured soldiers or their close relatives, in case of a posthumous award, by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The following were honoured.
ASHOK CHAKRA to ASI Babu Ram
The Ashoka Chakra, the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, was conferred on Assistant Sub-Inspector of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Babu Ram, posthumously. Rina Rani, Babu Ram’s widow, and Manik, his son, received the award from President Kovind.
On August 29, 2020, three terrorists fired upon the joint Naka party of the police/CRPF at Srinagar and fled the spot to take shelter in a house nearby, and an operation was devised immediately. In confronting and eliminating terrorists, Babu Ram exhibited heroic raw courage and gave his life for this country.
Babu Ram, Assistant Sub-Inspector in J&K Police, has been conferred with Ashok Chakra posthumously for “displaying valour & exemplary raw courage” during an anti-terror op in Srinagar.
Awarded for valour, courage, or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield, India’s Ashok Chakra is its highest peacetime military decoration.
An individual can be awarded decoration if he or she is military or civilian.
The Indian Police Force saluted the awardee, adding that his sacrifice came at the end of a “remarkable and incredible police career of dedication to duty and to the nation.”
Rank: Naib Subedar
Unit: 17th Battalion The Madras Regiment
On July 8, 2021, at 6.50 am, Naib Subedar Sreejith M, Sena Medal as Quick Reaction Team Commander observed the movement of two to three terrorists while searching rugged terrain. The Junior Commissioned Officer tactically deployed his team and engaged with the terrorists with effective fire, denying them to break contact and escape.
Amid the intense fire-fight, he observed two terrorists trying to break the cordon; the Junior Commissioned Officer displaying tactical acumen, crawled to the flank and brought down effective fire, eliminating one terrorist in the face to face gunfight.
The other terrorists retaliated with Under Barrel Grenade Launcher fire and hand grenades in which the Junior Commissioned Officer sustained multiple injuries and started bleeding profusely. Undeterred and regardless of his grievous injuries, he refused to get evacuated and continued to fire before succumbing to his injuries.
“Undeterred and regardless of his grievous injuries, refused to get evacuated and continued to fire before succumbing to his injuries. For his act of conspicuous gallantry, selfless leadership and supreme sacrifice beyond call of duty, Naib Subedar Sreejith M, Sena Medal is recommended for the award of “Shaurya Chakra (P),” his citation reads.
Anil Kumar Tomar
Rank : Havildar
Unit: The Rajput Regiment / 44 Rashtriya Rifles
On 25 December 2020, based on the input of the presence of two-three unidentified terrorists, a cordon and search operation was launched in a village in Kashmir.
Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar was leading a Combat Action Team for the operation. The Mission leader directed him to readjust the cordon. While moving for the task, he came under heavy fire from the terrorists and sustained bullet injury in the thigh.
Displaying utmost courage in the face of the enemy, he responded with accurate fire and neutralized one terrorist. Then, he pursued the second terrorist, injured him and cornered him inside a house. When Mission Leader decided to address the house using an excavator, Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar, despite being injured, volunteered to guide the excavator.
The injured second terrorist emerged from the house, firing indiscriminately when the house was being addressed. He engaged the second terrorist, neutralized him on the spot, and fell unconscious. He was evacuated but succumbed to his injuries and laid down his life in the line of duty.
He has been awarded Shaurya Chakra (Posthumously)
Unit: The Corps of Engineers/ 44th Battalion the Rashtriya Rifles
Based on specific input regarding the presence of four or five terrorists in a village in the Pulwama district, a cordon and search operation was launched on July 1, 2021.
Havildar Kashiray Bammanalli was Combat Action Team leader and laid a cordon towards the likely escape route along with the orchards. At 2315 hours, the terrorists tried to flee by lobbing grenades and firing indiscriminately in the direction of Havildar Kashiray. He responded with accurate fire and pushed the terrorists back inside the house.
At 2350 hours, in yet another desperate attempt to break the cordon, the terrorists lobbed grenades and brought heavy fire on Havildar Kashiray. Despite sustaining a grievous injury on his chest, he got down accurate fire and eliminated a terrorist. He crawled forward to a vantage position despite bleeding heavily and sensing danger to his flank.
He accurately engaged three other terrorists from close range, thereby saving the lives of his Combat Action Team members. The terrorists were subsequently neutralized. In doing so, Havildar Kashiray Bammanalli made the supreme sacrifice.
He has been awarded Shaurya Chakra (Posthumously)
Rank : Havildar
Unit : The Jat Regiment / 34th Battalion the Rashtriya Rifles
On March 27, 2021, Havildar Pinku Kumar was part of the inner cordon during an Operation in Kashmir. Havildar Pinku and his buddy Sepoy Sushil Rathi were covering the most likely escape route of the terrorists.
At approximately 2015 hours on March 27, 2021, in a bid to escape, two terrorists rushed out of the target house towards the street while firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades. Havildar Pinku tactically re-oriented his position in a split-second decision, engaged them with aimed-accurate fire, and instantly eliminated one hardcore terrorist. In the ensuing exchange of fire, the second terrorist took a detour and hid behind the retaining wall of a house. Mindful of risk to own life, Havildar Pinku stealthily closed on to the hiding terrorist and engaged him in close combat.
In the exchange of fire, Havildar Pinku injured the second terrorist. However, he sustained a grievous gunshot wound on his head and later succumbed to his injuries.
He has been given Shaurya Chakra (P) for displaying conspicuous bravery disregarding his personal safety and laying down his life in the service to the nation.
Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy
Rank : Sepoy
Unit : 17th Battalion the Madras Regiment
On July 8, 2021, at 0650hrs, Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy as Scout Number 2, while searching densely forested and rugged terrain, observed the movement of terrorists’ activity and immediately engaged with them.
In the ensuing firefight, Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy brought effective fire and blocked the most likely escape route of the terrorists. He displayed raw courage and eliminated one terrorist in a face to face gunfight.
While he crawled forward to engage other terrorists, he saw his Team Commander severely injured due to terrorist’s fire. He immediately lobbed grenades to pin down the terrorists and swiftly crawled towards his Team Commander to pull him to cover.
In doing so, he came under heavy and effective fire of terrorists and sustained grievous injuries but, disregarding his safety, he continued to engage with the terrorists and pulled his Team Commander under cover before succumbing to his injuries.
He has been conferred with Shaurya Chakra (P) for display of conspicuous bravery, courage under fire and unparalleled esprit-de- corps.
Rank : Rifleman
Unit: 5 Assam Rifles
Rifleman (General Duty) Rakesh was part of an ambush after receiving information about the movement of insurgents for extortion and killing of civilians in a village in Assam on May 23/23, 2021.
The Operational contact was established at 0200 hours, and a heavy firefight with the column confirmed the neutralization of four insurgents. At 0400 hours, Rifleman Rakesh sensed a gap in the ambush and reorganized his location with his buddy Rifleman Robinson.
While shifting to bridge the gap, they drew heavy fire from the tail end of the trap. Rifleman Rakesh spotted two insurgents fleeing the ambush in the cover of dense foliage.
He immediately pursued through woods under the covering fire of his buddy and closed in to cut off the escape route. Rifleman Rakesh shot dead one fleeing insurgent, but he drew heavy fire from the second insurgent out of cover. Displaying nerves of steel and quick thinking, he crawled to take the cover of a fallen tree. Showcasing superlative combat shooting, he shot dead the second insurgent also.
He has been awarded with Shaurya Chakra for his exceptional tactical acumen, selflessness, inspiring leadership and courage beyond compare while eliminating two dreaded insurgents.