On the occasion of India's 73rd Republic Day, the Union Ministry of Defence on Wednesday, 26 January, announced the Gallantry Awards for the year 2022.
The Ashoka Chakra, the country's highest peacetime gallantry award, was conferred on Assistant Sub-Inspector of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Babu Ram, posthumously.
Six Shaurya Chakras, the country's third-highest peacetime gallantry award, were bestowed on Army personnel for displaying extraordinary courage in their service to the nation. The honour was given to six CRPF personnel as well for their distinguished service.
Here is a look at the awardees.
ASI Babu Ram
On 29 August 2020, Babu Ram killed three terrorists during an operation in Srinagar, displaying "valour and exemplary raw courage in engaging and eliminating terrorists," before giving his life for the country.
The Indian Police Force saluted the awardee, adding that his sacrifice came at the end of a "remarkable and incredible police career of dedication to duty and to the nation."
Babu Ram's wife Rina Rani and son Manik received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind during the Republic Day parade on Wednesday.
NB Subedar Sreejith M, SM, Madras (Posthumous)
Naib Subedar Sreejith M commanded a search for two terrorists on 8 July 2021. After eliminating a militant, the junior commander was wounded and began bleeding profusely. Undeterred and regardless of his grievous injuries, Sreejith refused to get evacuated and continued to fire, before succumbing to his injuries.
The honour was conferred on him for his "act of conspicuous gallantry, selfless leadership, and supreme sacrifice beyond the call of duty."
Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar, Rajput (Posthumous)
Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar laid down his life in Kashmir during a cordon and search operation on 25 December 2020.
The award citation read, "While moving for the task, he came under heavy fire from terrorists and sustained a bullet injury in his thigh. Displaying utmost courage in the face of the enemy, he responded with accurate fire and eliminated one terrorist. Still injured, he pursued the second terrorist, injured him and cornered him inside a house. Upon engagement with the militant, he neutralised him on the spot and subsequently succumbed to his injuries."
Havildar Kashiray K Bammanalli, ENGRS (Posthumous)
Havildar Kashiray K Bammanalli was given the award "for displaying exceptional bravery in the elimination of terrorists in Pulwama district, saving lives of his team members and making the supreme sacrifice" on 1 July 2021.
"Havildar Kashiray Bammanalli was Combat Action Team leader and led a cordon towards a likely escape route along the orchards...Despite sustaining a grievous injury on his chest amid the operation, he brought down accurate fire and eliminated a terrorist. Despite bleeding heavily, sensing danger to his flank, he crawled forward to a vantage position and accurately engaged three other terrorists from close range, thereby saving lives of his Combat Action Team members," his citation read.
Havildar Pinku Kumar, JAT (Posthumous)
Havildar Pinku Kumar, JAT Regt/ 34 RR, was awarded the Shuarya Chakra "for displaying conspicuous bravery disregarding his own safety and laying down his life in the service to the nation."
On 27 March 2021, Havildar Pinku Kumar was a part of the inner cordon during an operation in Kashmir.
During the operation, two terrorists rushed out of the target house in a bid to escape, firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades, when Havildar Pinku engaged them with aim-accurate fire. The soldier eliminated one terrorist and injured another, sustaining a fatal gunshot wound on his head.
Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy, Madras (Posthumous)
Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy killed a terrorist in a gunfight during a search operation on 8 July 2021.
His citation read, "for display of conspicuous bravery, courage under fire and unparalleled esprit-de-corps, Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy has been awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously."
Rifleman Rakesh Sharma, Assam Rifles
Rifleman Rakesh Sharma of the 5 Assam Rifles "displayed superlative combat shooting" and killed two insurgents during an operation in a village in Assam on 23 May 2021. He was awarded the Shaurya Chakra on Wednesday.
During an ambush, Rakesh sensed a gap and reorganised his location along with his buddy Rifleman Robinson. He spotted two insurgents fleeing the ambush in a cover of dense foliage, immediately pursued them through woods under the covering fire of his buddy, and closed in to cut off the escape route. Subsequently, Sharma, showing "nerve of steel and quick thinking," shot both the terrorists dead.
Shri Dilip Malik, Cy. Commandant, 205 CoBRA Bn, CRPF
Shri Dilip Malik, DC was given the honour for his involvement in an operation against Maoists on 24 and 25 July 2019.
His citation read, "His quick ground appreciation, swift movement, ability to place and mobilise his troops accurately, sharp military acumen and ability to rise beyond the call of duty resulted in sheer dominance over the enemy within a matter of few minutes. In recognition of his conspicuous act of bravery, in the face of great adversity, Shri Dilip Malik, DC has been awarded Shaurya Chakra."
Shri Anirudh Pratap Singh, Asst. Commandant, CRPF
On 18 May 2020, input was received about the presence of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Kani Mazar, Nawakadal, PS Safakadal, and Srinagar. Accordingly, an operation involving the awardee was launched.
His citation read, "In recognition of extreme valour and exemplary determination, in the face of extreme danger, despite being injured, Shri Anirudh Pratap Singh, AC, has been awarded 'Shaurya Chakra'."
Shri Ajeet Singh, Head Constable (GD), Commandant-204, CoBRA, CRPF (Posthumous)
On 9 February 2020, during an operation against Maoists in Irrapalli, GD Ajeet Singh jumped forward to cover his team and broke the terrorists' dominance. The Maoists inflicted grave bullet injuries on him.
He was given the honour for "utmost bravery and grit."
Shri Vikas Kumar, Constable (GD), Commandant-204, CoBRA, CRPF (Posthumous)
Shri Vikas Kumar, Constable (GD), 204 CoBRA Bn, CRPF, showcased exemplary courage during an anti-Maoist operation launched in Irrapalli, on 9 February 2020.
His citation read, "In recognition of their most extraordinary and conspicuous act of gallantry, Ct/GD Vikas Kumar has been awarded Shaurya Chakra."
Shri Purnanand, Constable (GD), Commandant-204, CoBRA, CRPF (Posthumous)
Despite being severely injured during an operation on 9 February 2020 in Irrapalli, Shri Purnanand, Constable (GD) fought gallantly and continued firing at Maoists till he was down.
He was awarded the Shaurya Chakra "in recognition of their most extraordinary and conspicuous act of gallantry."
Shri Kuldeep Kumar Urawan, Head Constable, 118 Bn, CRPF
The honour was conferred on GD Kuldeep Kumar Urawan in recognition of his exceptional bravery, unflinching courage, and indomitable will during an operation against heavily armed terrorists on 2 July 2020.
Besides these honours, President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to 384 gallantry awards and other military decorations for the country's security forces, the government indicated in a statement.
Of these, the Indian Army has received 19 Param Vishisht Seva Medals (PVSM), four Uttam Yudh Seva Medals (UYSM), 33 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals (AVSM), and 84 Sena Medals (gallantry).