NEW DELHI, Nov 2, 2002(Adapted from the Tribune News) : Two army officers and a Havildar were today given wartime Vir Chakra awards for their brave exploits against the Pakistani forces along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir during the year-long “Operation Parakram”.
The three — Major Manoj M Deshpande, Havildar Chuni Lal of the 8 Jammu and Kashmir light infantry and Major Amitabh Roy of the Garhwal Rifles — were honoured with Vir Chakras awarded “for gallantry in the face of enemy” for what their citation described “special missions” on the LoC during the country’s forward troop deployment against Pakistan.
This is for the first time after the 1999 Kargil conflict that the government gave away the Vir Chakras.
Armed forces officers and jawans who made daredevil exploits against terrorists, ploughed through mounds of rubble to rescue people during the Gujarat quake to Army climbers who made history on Mt Everest were also among 79 service personnel decorated by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalaam today.
At the glittering military investiture ceremony held in the ceremonious Darbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and other distinguished guests, the President presented eight Param Vishist Seva Medals (PVSM), four Kirti Chakras, 26 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals , three Vir Chakras and 38 Shaurya Chakras.
Capt Pankaj Dhyani of the 11 Rashtriya Rifles, who single handedly killed four terrorists in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir and Corporal A.K. Mishra of the IAF who, working continuously for four days, rescued 19 persons, including women and children, in worst quake affected Bhuj town were decorated with Kirti Chakra, the nation’s second highest award for conspicuous gallantry otherwise than in the face of the enemy.
Two other Kirti Chakra to Lance Havildar Jora Singh and Havildar Laskar Singh were awarded posthumously again for daredevil exploits against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.
Air Marshal T M Asthana AoC-in-C Southern Air Command, Air Marshal MB Madon AOC-in-C Eastern Air Command, Lieut Gen T.S. Shergil Director General Ordinance Services and Lieut Gen S.K. Jain Director General Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corp were among eight officers honoured with PVSM.
Major Hitesh Bhalla of the Maratha Light Infantry was awarded a bar to Shaurya Chakra for foiling an infiltration bid on the LOC. The officer is also a recipient of Sena Medal.
A young pilot Flt Lt Sameer Riaz Kagdi was also honoured posthumously with a Shaurya Chakra. The pilot with a record of flying 350 hours even during enemy shelling in the Siachen glacier — the world highest battlefield — was awarded for landing his chopper during trecherous cross currents at remote DaulatBeg oldi near the Karakoram Pass.
Begum Zohra Sameer, the brave pilot’s young widow was given a standing ovation in Darbar Hall as she walked upto the dais to receive the award from the President.
As many as 10 of 38 Shaurya Chakras were awarded posthumously.
BAR TO SHAURYA CHAKRA
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS
PARAM VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL
ATI VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL