The Gallantry Awards 2019 announced on the occasion of Republic Day saw personnel of the Indian Army get one Ashoka Chakra, two Kirti Chakra, and nine Shaurya Chakra honours.
These included three posthumous awards, one each for the three categories of honours.
Ashoka Chakra In Gallantry Awards 2019
Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani (Posthumous) – The Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry/34thBattalion, The Rashtriya Rifles
On 23 November 2018, Nazir Ahmad Wani was operating with 34 Rashtriya Rifles when he was informed about the presence of six terrorists at Batagund village in Shopian district.
The terrorists were heavily armed and belonged to the Hizbul and Lashkar terrorist associations.
Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani along with his team and a resident of Kulgam was assigned the task to block the likely escape route of the terrorists.
The terrorists sensed danger and attempted to breach the inner cordon by firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades.
Undeterred by the situation, Wani held ground and eliminated one terrorist in a fierce exchange at close range.
Wani next closed in on a house where another terrorist was hiding. As the terrorist tried to flee, Wani encountered him in a hand to hand combat situation and defeated him.
Severely wounded Nazir Ahmad Wani, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
Kirti Chakra Awardees In Gallantry Awards 2019
Major Tushar Gauba – 20thBattalion, The Jat Regiment
On the night of 23 May 2018, eight militants attempted an infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. Early next morning, Major Tushar Gauba laid an ambush to prevent the terrorists from going back. The group of terrorists came across Major Gauba’s team while they were trying to make their way back early on 26 May.
They attacked the Indian troops using automatic weapons and hand grenades, injuring one of them. The Major got him to safety and then crawled close to the spot where the terrorists were firing from.
Major Gauba lobbed a hand grenade and charged towards them, firing constantly and killed three terrorists in the process. His swift action also ensured that no Indian lives were lost.
Sowar Vijay Kumar (Posthumous) – The Armoured Corps/22ndBattallion, The Rashtriya Rifles
Sowar Vijay Kumar, who was deployed at Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. He was part of Operation Vijay Darsu conducted on 2 and 3 August 2018 to apprehend terrorists who were learnt to be present in a village.
Vijay Kumar was the guide of the party that laid the initial cordon and covered the most likely escape route. The terrorists opened heavy fired to overcome the cordon and escape; he returned fire, forcing them to hide in a maize field.
When Major Varun Gaur was leading the search for the terrorists, the Indian forces came under heavy fire. Sowar Vijay Kumar came out in the open and took on the terrorists. He killed one terrorist despite sustaining injuries himself. He then killed another terrorist in hand-to-hand combat.
He has been honoured posthumously in the Gallantry Awards 2019 announced on Friday.
Shaurya Chakra Awardees In Gallantry Awards 2019
Nine awardees have been announced for the Shaurya Chakra.
Captain Abhay Sharma – 1stBattalion, The Parachute Regiment (Special Forces)
A Sena Medal recipient, Captain Abhay Sharma was the party commander tasked to undertake patrolling against enemy Border Action Team (BAT) along the LoC in Jammu district of Jammu and Kashmir. On 21 April 2018, his patrol spotted 10 uniformed enemy personnel carrying weapons and moving towards the Indian post.
He quickly deployed his party in two locations and at opportune time he along with his buddy opened fire and killed two enemy personnel. He provided cover fire enabling his buddy to disengage and move to safety. He then crawled under support fire of his buddy and shot down another enemy regular at close range.
Now under fire from enemy posts, he directed fire of five C-90s and destroyed three bunkers. Capt Sharma ensured that the Indian team returned safely without any casualties.
The Gallantry Awards 2019 has recognised Captain Abhay Sharma’s heroic role.
Lieutenant Colonel Vikrant Prasher – 10thBattalion, The Parachute Regiment (Special Forces)
Lieutenant Colonel Vikrant Prasher was leading a small team to eliminate a hardcore terrorist in August 2018. Prasher and three other team members closed in on the terrorist and his associates in a busy market.
Reacting swiftly, Prasher killed the terrorist leader and managed to evade retaliatory fire from the other terrorists who managed to escape. Lieutenant Colonel Prasher then skilfully retrieved his small team from the volatile crowd in quick time, showing tremendous professional grit.
Lieutenant Colonel Vikrant Prasher is one of three members of the Special Forces to have been honoured by the Gallantry Awards 2019.
Major Imliakum Keitzar – 4thBattalion, The 4thGorkha Rifles
Major Imliakum Keitzar was tenanting appointment of Ismali-Di-Deri Company Commander on the LoC at Keran Sector of Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. On 09 June 2018, he led Operation Rekha and went in pursuit of terrorists hiding in the inhospitable and snow-bound terrain.
The officer crawled towards the terrorists and closed in on them despite receiving heavy fire. He three terrorists all by himself. Major killed the first terrorist by firing a Multiple Grenade Launcher at close range. He moved towards the second terrorist and shot him in his head. He sensed the presence of a third terrorists and killed him as well.
Major Amit Kumar Dimri – The Garhwal Rifles/14thBattalion, The Rashtriya Rifles
The battalion Major Amit Kumar Dimri was leading launched Operation Shokbaba on 20 September 2018, after learning about presence of five terrorists in the Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian troops established a tight cordon and began searching the complex where the terrorists were suspected to be hiding.
Major Dimri ensured that two terrorists were killed while trying to escape; the rest were trapped in a cowshed. A day later, two more terrorists were killed. The officer then decided to close in on the cowshed and breached its wall using explosives.
Charging into the cowshed through this breach, Major Dimri gunned down the last terrorist who was trying to escape.
Major Rohit Lingwal – 9thBattalion, The Parachute Regiment (Special Forces)
Major Rohit Lingwal was deployed along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir for counter-infiltration operations. He received information about the likely reconnaissance activity of a hardcore terrorist who was planning a major attack in July 2018.
Maj Lingwal led his troop through mine fields ahead of own defences and laid multiple ambushes when he noticed terrorists approaching the Indian posts. The officer Major Rohit Lingwal crawled towards the terrorists and the leader was shot dead at close quarters.
Sapper Mahesh HN – The Corps of Engineers/44thBattalion, The Rashtriya Rifles
On 03 August 2018, a cordon and search operation was launched in a village in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir to hunt down terrorists. Sapper Mahesh HN with his in-depth knowledge of the terrain guided his team to cut off all routes of escape of terrorists.
His position came under heavy fire from five terrorists as they attempted to escape. Sapper Mahesh HN and his buddy engaged the terrorists in an intense and close firefight. He assisted in the neutralisation of one terrorist and in seriously injuring another, and forced the surviving terrorists back inside the compound of a house.
The next morning, a terrorist fired indiscriminately towards Sapper Mahesh in an attempt to escape. Mahesh blocked the terrorist and killed him in an intense close quarter battle.
The role played by Sapper Mahesh HN in the operation has been recognised in the Gallantry Awards 2019.
Sepoy Ajay Kumar (Posthumous) – The Mechanised Infantry/42ndBattalion, The Rashtriya Rifles
On 24 April 2018, Sepoy Ajay Kumar of Ghatak Platoon was deployed as a scout in the initial search during Operation Lam Forest in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. Kumar along with Sepoy L Roshan suddenly drew heavy fire from the terrorists. The scouts retaliated and were engaged with grenades by the terrorists.
Sepoy Ajay Kumar fired back on the terrorists, enabling his team to move to cover without sustaining any injury. He went on to kill a hardcore terrorist who was the Jaish-e-Mohammad Commander in South Kashmir. Kumar had, however, sustained a fatal gunshot wound on the head in the process.
Lance Naik Ayyub Ali – The Rajputa Rifles/9thBattalion, The Rashtriya Rifles
On 15 Sep 2018, a group of five heavily armed terrorists were cordoned in a house by 9 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion. Lance Naik Ayyub Ali was a part of the cordon, which the terrorists tried to breach by using grenades and heavy fire. When two Indian soldiers were hit, Lance Naik Ayyub Ali came out from cover and killed one of the escaping terrorists.
This terrorist was later identified as a dreaded terrorist of Lashkar-e-Taiba. He thereafter continued to engage the remaining terrorists and enabled evacuation of wounded personnel to a safe location.
Captain Abhinav Kumar Choudhary – The Corps of Signals/21stBattalion, The Rashtriya Rifles
On 07 August 2018, information was received about infiltrators in the General Area Liddar Panzal at Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. Captain Abhinav Kumar Choudhary was part of an operational team of 21 Rashtriya Rifles (GUARDS) and 9 Parachute Regiment that was tasked with close cordon and surveillance during inclement weather.
The next day, on being alerted about the movement of five terrorists, he took advantage of the low visibility and quickly readjusted both teams to prevent the escape of terrorists. The officer and his buddy opened fire on the terrorists, closing in on them and killing one of them.
He then exercised effective command and control and ensured strict fire discipline. This ensured that all five foreign Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were subsequently killed.
(Note- All the photos are courtesy the Twitter handle of Indian Army.)