Fighting terror : Heroes awarded this republic day

26 01 2009


Source: PIB, IBNLIVE

The Ashoka Chakra is awarded to any individual, uniformed or civilian, for the most conspicuous bravery, or some act of daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice otherwise than in the face of the enemy.

On January 26, 2009 the President will confer 11 Ashoka Chakra Awards, including two announced earlier on August 15, 2008 on Asstt. Commandant Pramod Kumar Satapathy, Special Operation Group, Orissa State Armed Police (Posthumous), and Shri R P Diengdoh, Meghalaya Police (Posthumous), at Rajpath before the start of the parade.

The following is the full list of awardees and a brief on their acts of valour:

SHRI R P DIENGDOH MEGHALAYA POLICE (POSTHUMOUS)

On 6th November 2007, information was received that about ten militants, armed with automatic rifles and a huge quantity of explosives have set up a camp in the jungles of Meghalaya.

Shri RP Diengdoh volunteered to lead the police party in the operations against the militants. The police party reached the site the next day just before dawn and charged into the camp to flush out the militants. The militants opened heavy fire on the assault team. Shri Diengdoh boldly returned the fire and shot dead one militant. However, he was hit by a bullet. Unmindful of the grave injury, he continued to lead the team and managed to capture two dreaded militants.

Shri RP Diengdoh displayed exemplary dedication to duty and pre-eminent valour in making the supreme sacrifice while fighting the militants.

ASSISTANT COMMANDANT SHRI PRAMOD KUMAR SATAPATHY TRAINING-IN-CHARGE OF THE SPECIAL OPERATION GROUP ORISSA STATE ARMED POLICE (POSTHUMOUS)

In the night of 15th February 2008 about 500 heavily armed naxalites carried out simultaneous attacks on police at various locations in and around Bhubaneswar looting many weapons and killing several police personnel. Thereafter, they hid in nearby jungles.

Assistant Commandant Shri Pramod Kumar Satapathy of the Special Operation Group along with a mere 20 police personnel reached the elevated position taken by the naxalites inside the jungle and immediately mounted an assault on them. The naxalites retaliated with heavy fire on the police team and in a fierce encounter lasting for about two hours. Shri Satapathy led the operations with exemplary courage before making the supreme sacrifice.

Shri Pramod Kumar Satapathy displayed highest degree of bravery and dedication to duty in the fight against naxalites.

IC-45618 COLONEL JOJAN THOMAS JAT REGIMENT / 45 RASHTRIYA RIFLES (POSTHUMOUS)

On 22nd August 2008, at about 03:30 AM, Colonel Jojan Thomas, Commanding Officer of 45 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion deployed in Jammu and Kashmir established contact with a group of terrorists.

Colonel Thomas immediately rushed to the area with available troops and soon a fierce firefight ensued. Leading from the front, Colonel Thomas eliminated two terrorists from close quarters. In the process he sustained severe gun shot wounds. Inspite of this, he engaged the third terrorist in a fierce hand-to-hand fight before eliminating him.

Colonel Jojan Thomas displayed exemplary leadership and exceptional gallantry in eliminating three hardcore terrorists and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

SHRI MOHAN CHAND SHARMA INSPECTOR, DELHI POLICE (POSTHUMOUS)

On 19th September 2008, Shri Mohan Chand Sharma, Inspector, Delhi Police received specific information that a suspected person wanted in connection with the serial bomb blasts in Delhi was hiding in a flat in Batla House area of Jamia Nagar, New Delhi.

Shri Sharma leading a seven member team quickly reached the identified flat. As soon as he entered the flat he received the first burst of fire from the terrorists holed up inside the flat. Undaunted, he returned the fire. In the ensuing exchange of fire, two terrorists were killed and one captured.

Shri Mohan Chand Sharma showed exemplary courage and devotion to duty in fighting the terrorists and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

13621503 HAVILDAR BAHADUR SINGH BOHRA10TH BATTALION THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT (SPECIAL FORCES) (POSTHUMOUS)

Havildar Bahadur Singh Bohra was the squad commander of an assault team deployed for a search operation in General Area Lawanz of Jammu and Kashmir.

On 25th September 2008, at 6:15 PM, he observed a group of terrorists and moved quickly to intercept them. In the process, he came under heavy hostile fire. Undaunted, he charged at the terrorists and killed one of them. However, he suffered severe gun shot wounds. Refusing evacuation, he continued with the assault and killed two more terrorists at extremely close range.

Havildar Bahadur Singh Bohra, thus, displayed most conspicuous bravery and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in fighting the terrorists.

SHRI HEMANT KAMLAKAR KARKARE JOINT COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, MAHARASHTRA (POSTHUMOUS)

On 26th November 2008 at 9:40 PM, Shri Hemant Kamlakar Karkare, Joint Commissioner of Police and Chief of the Anti-Terrorist Squad, received information about a terrorist attack at Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus Railway Station, Mumbai.

Acting swiftly, Shri Karkare dispatched teams to plug the possible escape routes and himself alongwith a small team rushed to Cama Hospital where the terrorists had moved by then. A firefight ensued between the terrorists and the police team. As a result, the terrorists were forced to change their position. Shri Karkare pursued the terrorists but in the process his jeep got ambushed and he was critically injured. He however, continued to lead the operation and succeeded in injuring one of the terrorists.

Shri Hemant Kamlakar Karkare displayed courage and leadership of the highest order in fighting the terrorists and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

SHRI TUKARAM GOPAL OMBALE ASSISTANT SUB-INSPECTOR OF POLICE, MAHARASHTRA (POSTHUMOUS)

On 26th November 2008, Shri Tukaram Gopal Ombale, Asstt. Sub Inspector of Police was on night duty at D B Marg Police Station when the terrorist attack in Mumbai took place.

Around midnight, a wireless message was flashed that two terrorists were moving towards Marine Drive in a car. Shri Ombale immediately positioned barricades to block its passage. As soon the car stopped, one of the terrorists inside the car opened fire. Shri Ombale in a daring act rushed to the left side of the car and pounced on one of the terrorists in order to snatch his AK 47 rifle. In the process he got seriously injured and later succumbed to his injuries.

Shri Tukaram Gopal Ombale showed raw grit and unparalleled courage in making his supreme sacrifice while fighting the terrorists.

IC-58660 MAJOR SANDEEP UNNIKRISHNAN BIHAR REGIMENT / 51 SPECIAL ACTION GROUP (POSTHUMOUS)

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan led the commando operation launched on 27th November 2008 to flush out terrorists from Hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai in which he rescued 14 hostages.

During the operation, his team came under intense hostile fire, in which one of his team members got grievously injured. Major Sandeep pinned down the terrorists with accurate fire and rescued the injured commando to safety. In the process, he was shot in his right arm. Despite his injuries, he continued to fight the terrorists till his last breath.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan displayed most conspicuous bravery besides camaraderie and leadership of the highest order and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

4073611 HAVILDAR GAJENDER SINGH PARACHUTE REGIMENT / 51 SPECIAL ACTION GROUP (POSTHUMOUS)

In the night of 27th November 2008, Havildar Gajender Singh was leading his squad in the operation to rescue hostages from the terrorists at Nariman House, Mumbai.

After clearing the top floor of the terrorists, he reached the place where the terrorists had taken position. As he closed in, the terrorists hurled a grenade injuring him. Undeterred, he kept firing and closing in on the terrorists by exposing himself to the hostile fire. In the act, he injured one of the terrorists and forced the others to retreat inside a room. He continued the encounter till he succumbed to his injuries.

Havildar Gajender Singh displayed most conspicuous courage against grave odds and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in combating the terrorists.

SHRI ASHOK MARUTRAO KAMTE ADDITIONAL COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, MAHARASHTRA (POSTHUMOUS)

On 26th November 2008, ten heavily armed terrorists launched simultaneous attacks at various places in Mumbai.

Shri Ashok Marutrao Kamte, Addl. Commissioner of Police was part of the police team which rushed to Cama Hospital where the terrorists had moved in. A firefight ensued between the terrorist and the police team. As a result, the terrorists were forced to change their position. The Police team pursued the terrorists but in the process their jeep got ambushed and Shri Kamte was critically injured. He however, continued the fight and played key role in injuring one of the terrorists.

Shri Ashok Marutrao Kamte displayed courage and leadership of the highest order in fighting the terrorists and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

SHRI VIJAY SHAHADEV SALASKAR INSPECTOR, ANTI EXTORTION CELL OF CRIME BRANCH, MAHARASHTRA (POSTHUMOUS)

On 26th November 2008, ten heavily armed terrorists launched simultaneous attacks at various places in Mumbai.

Shri Vijay Shahadev Salaskar, Inspector, Anti Extortion Cell of Crime Branch was part of the police team rushed to Cama Hospital where the terrorists had moved in. A firefight ensued between the terrorist and the police team. As a result, the terrorists were forced to change their position. The Police team pursued the terrorists but in the process their jeep got ambushed and Shri Kamte and Shri Salaskar was critically injured. He however, continued the fight and played key role in injuring one of the terrorists.

Shri Vijay Shahadev Salaskar showed raw grit and unparalleled courage against grave odds and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

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Fragrance of fire

22 09 2008

Source: TOI
More articles of the author can be found at TOI

Delhi is mourning the death of Inspector M C Sharma who dared to take on the terrorists hiding in Jamia Nagar. It’s rare that police force gets such an appreciation and salute that is otherwise reserved for the armed forces. The reactions of the people and the anchors on the news channels were sad, moist and genuine.

Why did he have to have this martyrdom?

The men in Khaki are more known and portrayed in movies as lazy, corrupt, unintelligent and seekers of pleasure at public cost. Few know the trying circumstances they work in and the salaries they draw. They are facing the Communist terrorism in thirteen states, their martyrdom in action, go often less reported and almost unsung. They are given the most outdated rifles and equipment and the facilities to act against terrorists who are cunning, resourceful and heavily armed with modern weapons. The police laws are shamefully inadequate. Indian police was governed under the 1861 act of the British government that was meant for the colonial brute force to control subjugated natives till 2006.

As close as 16th July, the Maoists in Orissa killed 21 policemen. In 2007, Maoists had killed 22 policemen in Bihar. According to a newspaper report, Bihar, one of the worst Maoist affected states along with Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, has the lowest police-people ratio. Over 19,000 posts in the state police department have not been filled up. In March 2007 the Maoists had killed 50 policemen in Chhattisgarh. During Rajasthan’s Gujjar movement in May this year, unruly protestors beheaded a policeman.

Every one, including the politician, loves to deride and insult police openly and get applause. But every one wants police to help them in times of distress and crisis. From a small traffic accident to domestic violence and petty thefts to Nithari ‘s cannibals and Arushi murder, it’s the police that faces the public and is under constant pressure to show results. The politicians use them as domestic servants and commission agents, corrupting them and in turn helping out of turn the facilitator men in Khaki. Yet the most important task – to reform and modernize the police force – remains in cold storage till something like Delhi blasts occur and there is a huge pressure built up by people and media on the government. Then just to avoid the immediate criticism a few announcements are made to spend a few more crores on police force. No body knows how many years would take to see these announcements implemented.

It was in July 2006 that the Indian government had unveiled an ambitious Rs.52 billion plan for modernising the Central and state police forces. The money is yet to be utilized. Manipur, for example, which is declared ‘A’ class seeing high incidents of insurgency, didn’t spend eight crores earmarked for police modernization yet showed it as ‘spent’ in accounts, which was detected in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Lack of men power, political interference, a tendency to demoralize the honest and upright officers, lack of coordination between different forces and a complete absence of a mechanism to share information and cooperate with each other amongst various shades of police forces, including para-military security organisations make the task of police more difficult and cumbersome.

The level of demoralization in police forces is well exemplified by a recent report from Hyderabad that says: “Police stations in at least 100 mandals across the state do not want to avail four and six wheelers fearing landmine attacks by the Maoists. This comes following intelligence inputs that cops deployed in the jurisdiction of these police stations run the highest risk of being targeted by the Naxals. Currently, there are 1,559 police stations in the state of which about 700 have no four wheelers for mobility. Though the police department provided at least 207 vehicles to the police stations through the Police Transport Organisation, the Naxal-hit areas have not been included. A senior police officer said, “There are several instances of Naxals targeting police personnel moving in four wheelers. Landmines and claymore mines are a big threat to the police teams travelling in jeeps and buses in the Naxal-hit Andhra-Orissa border, Khammam-Chhattisgarh border, North Telangana and surroundings of Nallamala.’ Police usually move in private vehicles and sometimes on two-wheelers in the Maoist-hit zones.”

Those who shoulder the responsibility to provide security to people are left high and dry when the question of their own security arises. Just a month ago an ambitious scheme has been passed by the Union Cabinet, which aims to strengthen police force in Naxal affected areas by raising 10 battalions (10,000 personnel) at a cost of Rs 1389.47 crore. After debating on the proposal for nearly eight months, the Union Home Ministry finally moved the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for raising the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), which will be similar to ‘Greyhounds’ of Andhra Pradesh Police. The Left-extremism, termed by the Prime Minister as a “virus”, has engulfed nearly 13 states.

But it’s not just the Naxal affected areas but the entire police network that needs a complete and radical overhaul. Their training needs a Japanese touch which has the best of Eastern values and a tough power to eliminate the rogues. The first and foremost thing that needs to be done is to make the police set up autonomous and remove all the traces of colonialism from the police force, that essentially includes taking off the Khaki colour, which reminds of the imperial British brutishness. In UP and Bihar, old Willy’s jeeps, reminding of the Sholay days and dacoit trail are in vogue with policemen wielding 303 guns.

The National Police Commission (NPC), created by the government in 1977, had submitted eight detailed reports during 1979-81, with comprehensive recommendations covering the entire gamut of police work. None was implemented completely. It was only because of a petition to the Supreme Court by one of the most able, honest and spirited police officers, Prakash Singh that the obnoxious Police Act of 1861 was struck down in one go in September 2006. That too happened, not surprisingly, having ‘heard’ the petition for ten long years. The Supreme Court said, “we think that there cannot be any further wait, and the stage has come for issue of appropriate directions for immediate compliance so as to be operative till such time as a new Model Police Act is prepared by the Central Government and/or the state governments pass the requisite legislations.”

The Supreme Court ordered the establishment of three institutions at the state level with a view to insulating the police from extraneous influences, according functional autonomy and ensuring accountability. These were:

• A State Security Commission to lay down broad policies and give directions relating to the preventive and service-oriented functions of the police.
• A Police Establishment Board, comprising the Director-General of Police and four other senior officers to decide on all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. The Board was also tasked with making appropriate recommendations to the state government regarding the postings and transfers of officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above.
• A Police Complaints Authority at the district and state level to look into allegations of misconduct by police personnel.

In addition, the apex court ordered that the Director-General of Police should be selected by state governments from the three senior-most officers empanelled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC. It further stipulated that the DGP should have a prescribed minimum tenure of two years. Police officers on operational duty in the field, like the Inspector general (IG) Zone, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Range, SP in charge of a district and Station House Officer (SHO) should also have a minimum tenure of two years.

But hardly these have been followed because every time there is a regime change, the entire police set up too is changed buy the incumbent political masters, bringing in their protégés and punishing those whom they thing had side with their rivals. This affects the respect for the able in the force and the virus goes down vertically.
Certainly there are still good officers in the police force and they need protection of law. It’s high time that the police forces’ control be taken off the authorities of the political set up and put under a professional autonomous body so that the people are secured and the moral of the brave men in khaki is also restored.

Security forces, whether in khaki or olive green, represent the spine of the land and the life of public institutions and democratic mechanism depends on them. Sadly they are the most ignored and left out segments. How the relatives of those brave security personnel, who were killed in action saving the lives of the parliamentarians, felt compelled to return the decorations given to their children is the saddest stories of state’s failure in recent times.

While we are nearing another anniversary of 13th December, when Parliament was attacked, can we hope that all the parties would come together to provide more teeth and facilities to our security forces and encourage their morale so that the best talent in our society feels a pride in joining forces and be the real ‘bobby’ of the people? They are the fragrance of the fire of nobility in our society; let that be preserved with all our support.

The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.