Kirti Chakra for Major who killed 3 terrorists

Two Indian Army soldiers who laid down their lives while defending their post on the Line of Control (LoC) after it came under attack by intruders and an officer who killed three hardcore terrorists in a single operation are among those who have been named for gallantry awards on the eve of the Republic Day by the government.

The third highest peacetime gallantry award, the Shaurya Chakra, has been conferred on 11 persons this year and two that stand out are Naik Rajeshver Singh and Anil Kumar of the 16 Punjab regiment who died while defending their post on the LoC.

The two soldiers were manning a post named Abdul hut in the Kupwara district when it came under heavy attack by machine gun fire from the opposite side on September 4. After a fellow soldier was wounded in the initial volley of fire, both Kumar and Singh retaliated and spotted intruders who were charging towards their post from the thick foliage. Despite being hurt, Singh managed to shoot down one intruder before falling to enemy bullets.

Kumar also lifted and brought out a Medium Machine Gun out from the bunker and effectively engaged the remaining terrorists, causing casualty to one and beating back the others. Kumar too was injured. He succumbed to injuries in hospital.

The nation's second highest gallantry award, the Kirti Chakra, has been conferred on Major Anup Joseph Manjali of the Bihar regiment who led his company column under extreme adverse terrain and weather conditions during a battalion level operation in Jammu and Kashmir on September 30. He managed to lay an ambush for five terrorists and shot dead two of them at close range, besides eliminating one with a grenade.

In a rare case, an Indian Army soldier who died while engaging rebels while on a UN Mission in Congo has also been conferred a Shaurya Chakra. Naik Krishan Kumar of the Sikh Light Infantry/Brigade of the Guards was part of a quick reaction force at Bunagana when his location came under heavy fire by rebels on July 5. The NCO continued to engage the rebels thereby dissuading them from reaching the population centre.

Kumar was hit by a bullet and in spite of being grievously injured, continued to hold his position till he breathed his last.

In all, the President has approved awards of 359 Gallantry and other Defence decorations to Armed Forces personnel and others on the eve of the 64th Republic Day Celebrations. This includes 56 Sena Medal (Gallantry), one Bar to Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry), three Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry) and three Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).

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