Man gets back slain son's stolen gallantry award

An ageing father, who lost his Army officer son in a fierce gun battle on the Kashmir border years ago, could not have asked for a better gift on Independence Day—the stolen Maha Vir Chakra conferred on his son posthumously.

At his doorstep this Sunday was a parcel from a person he had never known all his life. But what was inside brought immeasurable joy for retired Col TPS Suri. It was the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), the second highest gallantry award that was conferred upon his son Capt Gurjinder Singh posthumously by the government for exceptional bravery. The MVC was stolen along with goods and valuables from Col Suri’s house in Mohali near here by burglars way back in 2006.

The loss of valuables for the retired colonel was meaningless given the emotional setback he suffered at the loss of his son’s priceless gallantry honour. Today, Col Suri is a relieved man free from all the suffering at the loss of  the medal, his son earned so valiantly. Capt Singh of 12 Bihar Regiment died in Kashmir on November 9, 1999, fighting terrorists in a bloody battle. Capt Singh gunned down three terrorists before he finally succumbed to bullet injuries.For Col Suri, the return of the medal was by a sheer stroke of chance.
He said he recently got a call from Delhi-based Squadron Leader T P S Chinna who informed him about his son’s MVC.

Chinna happened to visit an antique outlet where he saw the medal with Indian Commission number and Capt Gurjinder Singh’s name engraved on it. Details of the martyr weren’t hard to locate for Chinna.On Sunday, a courier brought home the medal and fond memories of the lost soldier.

 “I am relieved. It’s a moment of great joy for me,” Col Suri said. Interestingly, ever since the burglary in the officer’s house in 2006, the police failed to nab the culprits behind the crime and recover the lost valuables. With his son’s medal back to from where it was stolen from, Col Suri now has no regrets.

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