A total 384 Indian armed forces soldiers will received gallantry and other defence decorations, including 12 Shaurya Chakras, on the eve of 73rd Republic Day celebrations on January 26.
These gallantry awards include 12 Shaurya Chakras, 29 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, four Uttam Yudh Seva Medals, 53 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 13 Yudh Seva Medals, three Bar to Vishisht Seva Medals, 122 Vishisht Seva Medals, three Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry), 81 Sena Medals (Gallantry), two Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry), 40 Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), eight Nao Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), and 14 Vayu Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty).
Out of the 12 Shaurya Chakra awardees, six Indian Army officers were honoured with Shaurya Chakra for counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states. Out of the six, five were posthumously awarded.
Naib Subedar Sreejith M. of the 17th battalion of Madras Regiment has been honoured posthumously for counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir. On July 8, 2021, Sreejith as Quick Reaction Team commander while carrying out search in densely forested and rugged terrain observed movement of two to three terrorists.
He tactically deployed his team and engaged the terrorists with effective fire, denying them to break contact and escape. Amid the intense firefight, he observed two terrorists trying to break the cordon. He crawled to the flank and brought down effective fire, eliminating one terrorist. The other terrorists retaliated with a grenade launcher fire and hand grenades in which, Sreejith 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.
Anil Kumar Tomar of the Rajput Regiment has been honoured Shaurya Chakra posthumously for counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir. On December 25, 2020, Tomar was leading a combat action team for the operation. He was directed by the mission leader to readjust the cordon. While moving for the task, he came under heavy fire from the terrorists and sustained bullet injury in his thigh. Despite that, he responded with accurate fire and neutralised a terrorist. Then he pursued the second terrorist, injured him and cornered him inside a house.
When the mission leader decided to address the house using an excavator, Tomar, despite being injured, volunteered. When the house was being addressed, the injured second terrorist emerged from the house firing indiscriminately. He engaged the second terrorist and neutralised him but succumbed to his injuries.
Kashiray Bammanalli of Engineers Corps also received Shaurya Chakra posthumously. Bammanalli was a combat action team leader and laid a cordon towards likely escape route along the orchards at a village in Pulwama district. At 11:15 pm, the terrorists tried to flee by lobbing grenades and firing indiscriminately in the direction of Bammanalli. He responded with fire and pushed the terrorists back inside the house. At 11:50 pm, in yet another desperate attempt to break the cordon, the terrorists lobbed grenades and brought heavy fire on Kashiray.
Despite sustaining injury on his chest, he eliminated the terrorist. Sensing danger to his flank, he crawled forward to a vantage position and accurately engaged three other terrorists from close range, thereby saving the lives of other troopers. The terrorists were subsequently neutralised.
Pinku Kumar of Jat Regiment has been honoured with Shaurya Chakra posthumously. On March 27, 2021, Kumar was part of the inner cordon during an operation in Kashmir. Kumar along with Sepoy Sushil Rathi were covering the most likely escape route of the terrorists.
At approximately 8:15 pm, in a bid to escape, two terrorists rushed out of the target house towards the street while firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades.
Kumar tactically re-oriented his position, engaged them with accurate fire and instantly eliminated one terrorist. In the ensuing exchange of fire, the second terrorist took a detour and hid behind the wall of a house.
Mindful of the risk to own life, Kumar stealthily moved towards the house and engaged him in a close combat. In the exchange of fire, Kumar injured the terrorist, but sustained grievous gun shot wound on his head and later succumbed to his injuries.
Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy of 17th battalion of the Madras Regiment has been honoured with Shaurya Chakra posthumously. On July 8, 2021, Reddy as scout number two while carrying out search in densely-forested and rugged terrain observed the movement of terrorists and immediately engaged them.
Reddy blocked the most likely route to escape. He displayed raw courage and eliminated a terrorist. While he crawled forward to engage the other terrorists, he saw his team commander severely injured in terrorist’s fire. He immediately lobbed grenades to pin down the terrorists and swiftly pulled his commander to cover.
In doing so, he came under heavy fire from the terrorists and sustained grievous injuries, but disregarding his personal safety, he continued to engage the terrorists before succumbing to his injuries.
Rifleman Rakesh Sharma of 5 Assam Rifles has also been honoured with Shaurya Chakra for counter-terror operation in Asssam.
Sharma was part of an ambush after receiving information about movement of insurgents for extortion and killing of civilians at a village in Assam on May 23, 2021.
The operational contact was established at 2 am and a firefight with the column had confirmed neutralisation of four insurgents.
At 4 am, Sharma, sensing a gap in the ambush, reorganised his location along with his rifleman Robinson. They drew heavy fire from the tail-end of the ambush. Sharma spotted two insurgents fleeing the ambush in the cover of dense foliage. He immediately pursued through woods under covering fire from Robinson and closed in to cut off the escape route.
Sharma shot dead a fleeing insurgent but being out of cover, he drew heavy fire from the second insurgent. He crawled to take cover under a fallen tree. Showcasing superlative combat shooting, he gunned down the second insurgent as well.