Proud moment for awardees
UDHAMPUR, Feb 27: Commissioned into the Army over a year before running into live action with infiltrating terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, Captain Rahul Sharma’s heroics have won him the prestigious Sena Medal.
The 25-year-old was among the 61 Army personnel who were presented the gallantry and distinguished service awards by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen Yogesh Kumar Joshi in a solemn investiture ceremony here on Saturday.
“It is a soldier’s dream to do something for the country and when you get anything like that (gallantry award) at an early stage of your carrier, it is icing on the cake,” Captain Sharma said.
An alumnus of the Officers Training Academy (OTA) Chennai, Sharma said he was commissioned in the army in March 2019 and “had a wonderful operation” the next year when the Indian Army foiled a major infiltration bid cum Border Action Team (BAT) attack in Keran sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
“It was a team achievement and this is a happy day for all of us, especially my unit. We were deployed ahead of the fence and we came together to scuttle the enemy’s attempt causing heavy casualties on them,” the officer said, without going into the details saying he was not authorized to speak much on the matter.
He said it was a proud moment for his parents who along with his sister had joined the officer to share his joy on the occasion.
The Army commander presented two Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry) and 50 Sena Medals (Gallantry) to the brave soldiers besides three Sena Medals (distinguished) and six Vishisht Seva medals for selfless service to the nation.
Major Kulbhuhan Singh of the Jat regiment, another recipient of the Sena Medal, said he led his men to shoot dead two terrorists during an anti-militancy operation in the Kashmir valley in March 2019.
“It is a proud moment for all of us. We are doing our best to improve the situation in the valley and bring peace to the region,” he said.
Major Singh said the youth in the valley are not inclined towards terrorism as is perceived outside the valley.
“The situation in Kashmir is improving and going by my interaction with the local youth, they too dream to be doctors, engineers and other professionals and live a peaceful and dignified life,” he said, adding there are some elements who are exploiting the innocence of the youth and misleading them to the wrong path under the influence of forces from outside the country.
Rashtriya Rifles soldier Ayub Mohammad, whose brave action not only saved precious lives of his colleagues but also led to the elimination of two terrorists during an operation in Kulgam district in 2019, said he is doing his duties towards the nation and can sacrifice his life without a second thought.
“It is a big day for me and my family who raised me to serve the nation,” he said.
Lt Gen Joshi also awarded unit appreciation to 26 units for their overall outstanding performance in the command theatre.
The awardees include 8 field regiment (Artillery) led by Col Pankaj Joshi, deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Srinagar-based 15 corps zone.
“It is a great achievement for my unit,” Colonel Joshi said.