Slain Colonel’s buddies rename school playground after martyr

MUMBAI:  Classmates of an Army officer from Maharashtra, who laid down his life battling militants near the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district last year, have renamed their school playground after the martyr.

Col Santosh Mahadik’s mother was the chief guest at the ceremony, as the playground at Sainik School Satara was renamed after her valiant son, who died in a face to face combat with terrorists.

Before the function, the ‘Veer Mata’ was escorted to the venue by horses. She cut the ribbon and inaugurated plaque on the playground.

The ceremony was followed by performance of a 25-member Army Band from the MLI Centre at Belgum.

His batch-mates who are serving in the Defence forces, laid wreaths at the War Memorial in the school premises.

The martyr’s classmates Shashikant, Giridhar, Prashant and Sachin shared their childhood memories of the martyr.

An ace football goalkeeper, a skilled horse-rider and a passionate boxer, Mahadik was an all-rounder, his friends recalled.

Mahadik’s wife Swati who in September joined the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai as part of the SSCW (Non-tech) course for 11 months’ training before she joins the Army as a lieutenant, could not attend the playground renaming ceremony due to her training schedule.

In October, Col Mahadik’s classmates had pooled in to send 400 packets of sweets to soldiers of his unit in Kashmir.

Col Santosh Mahadik, the Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was critically injured during the operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the LoC in Kashmir in November 2015 and succumbed to his injuries at a hospital later.

Col Mahadik was a student of Sainik School, Satara. An officer from the elite 21 Para-Special Forces unit, Col Mahadik was awarded a Sena Medal for gallantry during Operation Rhino in the North-East in 2003.

Despite the inhospitable terrain that made the Kupwara operation immensely challenging, the Colonel particularly chose to lead his battalion. (AGENCIES)

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