Pandey, Menon, Rathi awarded

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 25: The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, former Leh Corps chief and Leh airbase chief were today decorated with Uttam Yudh Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal.
Lt Gen DP Pandey, GOC Srinagar Corps and Lt Gen PGK Menon, former GOC Leh-based 14 Corps have been decorated with Uttam Yudh Seva Medal.
Leh airbase Chief Operations Officer Group Captain Ajay Rathi has been awarded the Vayu Sena Medal.
Meanwhile, five Indian Army soldiers were posthumously awarded Shaurya Chakra, the third highest peacetime gallantry award, on Tuesday for showing exceptional bravery while combating terrorists, according to an official statement.
Moreover, one serving Assam Rifles soldier was awarded Shaurya Chakra on the occasion of Republic Day for showing exceptional bravery during an anti-insurgent operation in Assam, the Indian Army’s statement noted.
The Indian Army on Tuesday released a list of Army personnel awarded for their gallantry and distinguished service on the occasion of Republic Day 2022.
According to the Indian Army, a total of five soldiers — Naib Subedar Sreejith M, Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar, Havildar Kashiray Bammanalli, Havildar Pinku Kumar, Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy — have been posthumously awarded Shaurya Chakra for showing exceptional bravery while combating terrorists.
Rifleman Rakesh Sharma has also been awarded Shaurya Chakra for showing exceptional bravery while fighting insurgents in Assam, it mentioned.
Meanwhile, Naib Subedar Sreejith M killed one terrorist in a “face to face gunfight” on July 8, 2021 while carrying out a search in densely forested area of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army noted.
He refused to get evacuated and continued to fire before succumbing to his injuries, it added.
On December 25, 2020, Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar was conducting a cordon and search operation in Kashmir when he came under heavy fire from terrorists, it said.
Kumar sustained bullet injury but displaying utmost courage, he neutralised one terrorist with accurate fire, pursued and cornered another terrorist inside a house and neutralised him too, it mentioned.
“He was evacuated from the location but succumbed to his injuries and laid down his life in the line of duty,” the Army noted.
On July 1, 2021, Havildar Kashiray Bammanalli was conducting a cordon and search operation in Pulwama, Kashmir, when terrorists tried to flee by lobbing grenades and firing indiscriminately, it said.
“Despite sustaining grievous injury on his chest, he brought down accurate fire and eliminated terrorist,” it added.
Despite bleeding heavily, sensing danger to his flank, Bammanalli crawled forward to a vantage position and accurately engaged three other terrorists from close range, thereby saving lives of his team members, it noted.
The terrorists were subsequently neutralised and in doing so, Bammanalli made the supreme sacrifice, it said.
Havildar Pinku Kumar on March 27 last year was part of the inner cordon during an anti-terrorist operation in Kashmir, it said.
When two terrorists tried to run out of the cordon, he reoriented his position and engaged them with accurate fire, killing one of the terrorists, it noted.
Kumar also injured the second terrorist, but sustained a grievous gunshot wound on his head and later succumbed to his injuries, it mentioned.
Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy on July 8 last year was carrying out a search operation in a densely forested area of Kashmir when he engaged terrorists and killed one of them in a face-to-face gunfight.
While he crawled forward to engage other terrorists, he saw his team commander severely injured due to the terrorists’ fire, the Army stated.
Reddy immediately lobbed grenades to pin down the terrorists and swiftly crawled towards his team commander to pull him to cover, it mentioned.
“In doing so, he came under heavy and effective fire of terrorists and sustained grievous injuries but disregarding his personal safety continued to engage the terrorists and pulled his team commander under cover, before succumbing to his injuries,” it noted.
Rifleman Rakesh Sharma was part of an anti-insurgent ambush operation in Assam on May 22-23 last year.
He spotted two insurgents fleeing the ambush in cover of dense foliage, the Army mentioned.
“He immediately pursued through woods under covering fire of his buddy and closed in to cut off escape route,” it noted.
Sharma shot dead one fleeing insurgent but being out of cover he drew heavy fire from the second insurgent, it stated.
“Displaying nerve of steel and quick thinking, he crawled to take cover of a fallen tree. Showcasing superlative combat shooting he shot dead the second insurgent also,” it noted.