TWO SOLDIERS who were killed fighting infiltrators along the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K and a Rifleman who chased two insurgents into the jungles and killed them during an operation in Assam are among six Army personnel who have been named for Shaurya Chakras this year.
Shaurya Chakra is the country’s third highest peacetime gallantry award. President Ram Nath Kovind approved the list of awardees – six from Army and six from CRPF – on the eve of Republic Day.
While five of the six from the Army have been awarded posthumously, for the CRPF, the number of posthumous awards is four.
Two of the Army’s posthumous awards have been given for the same operation. Naib Subedar Sreejith M and Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Reddy, both from 17th Madras Regiment, were killed fighting infiltrators trying to cross the LoC in Sunderbani sector of J&K on July 8, 2021. They killed militants in face-to-face gunfights before they came under heavy fire and use of grenades.
Three others who were named for Sharya Chakra are Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar and Havildar Kashiray Bammanalli, both from 44 Rashtra Rifles, and Havildar Pinku Kumar from 34 Rashtra Rifles. They were killed in operations in the Valley in which each of them killed at least one militant before they were killed.
The only surviving Army person to get the Shaurya Chakra this year is Rifleman Rakesh Sharma, who during an operation on May 23 in an Assam village, chased two insurgents into the jungles and killed them despite coming under heavy fire.
Apart from them, six CoBRA commandos of the CRPF have been awarded the Shaurya Chakra.
Deputy Commandant Dilip Malik, posted in 205 CoBRA, who led his men in a fierce gunfight with Maoists after they came under head fire during a search operation in a Bihar forest has been named for the award. He killed at least three Maoists and “set the highest and exemplary standards of leadership” during the operation.
Three personnel of CoBRA also received the Shaurya Chakra posthumously for a separate anti-Maoist operation in Irrapalli.
The President also awarded ‘Mention-in-Despatches’ to 44 personnel from the Armed Forces. The largest set of 15 are for counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in J&K. Fourteen personnel were awarded for the operations during the standoff in eastern Ladakh. Two of these are posthumous, awarded to Havildar Sudheesh Kumar S and Naik Ramarao Vanjarapu, both from Engineer Regiment.