The Centre, in appreciation of forces engaged in sustained counter-terror operations in Jammu & Kashmir, on Monday honoured two CRPF commandants with Kirti Chakra for acts of bravery in J&K and conferred 40 of the 190 police gallantry medals awarded this Independence Day on J&K police and CRPF/BSF personnel deployed in the Valley.
The awardees this year include five J&K police bravehearts who in October 2015 had neutralised Abu Qasim, a Lashkar-e-Taiba divisional commander involved in Udhampur attack on a BSF convoy just weeks back in August and the Hyderpora terror attack of 2013 that killed eight Army personnel.
Two commandants of central CRPF, Chetan Singh Cheetah, who received nine bullet injuries during an encounter with terrorists in Bandipora, J&K on February 14 this year and survived, and Pramod Kumar, who was martyred while fighting terrorists in Nowhatta Chowk last Independence Day — have been conferred the country’s second highest gallantry award, Kirti Chakra.
“This year’s police gallantry medal list includes 25 personnel of J&K police, apart from 10 CRPF and five BSF personnel deployed in the state. This is largely in recognition of the exemplary courage shown by them in neutralising terrorists,” said a home ministry official. Incidentally, 13 J&K police personnel had received police gallantry medals last year.
As many as 990 personnel from various state police and central forces were conferred the police medals this year, with the medals recognising the utmost courage displayed by the men in uniform in combating the twin challenges of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and Maoist threat in parts of India.
The awardees include 1 President’s police medal for gallantry (PPMG), 190 police medals for gallantry (PMG), 93 President’s police medals for meritorious service and 706 police medals for meritorious service.
As many as 14 of the 190 PMG were awarded posthumously. The lone President’s police medal for gallantry (PPMG) this year has gone to Chhattisgarh police braveheart Shankar Rao who was martyred during an anti-Maoist operation in Sukma in April 2015. The Maoists shot him in the chest after he tracked them on a hillock and went after them. However, even in a wounded state, he managed to alert his colleagues in time, saving precious lives. Seven policemen were killed and ten others injured in this encounter, though police estimates put the number of Maoists killed at 35.
Among the state police, the UP police bagged the highest number of medals (81), followed by Andhra Pradesh police (67), Maharashtra police (56) and J&K police (44). As for the central para-military forces, CRPF led with 121 medals, followed by BSF with 67, CISF 25 and ITBP and Assam Rifles with 16 medals each