Stolen Maha Vir Chakra turns up years later

An aging 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.

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 T P S Suri. It was the country’s Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), the second highest gallantry award, that was conferred upon his son Capt Gurjinder Singh posthumously by the Army 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 hurt he lived with in the absence 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 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 wer-en’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.

Police had failed to nab those behind the burglary at the officer’s house in 2006. Nor did they manage to recover the lost valuables.
Col Suri now has no regrets.

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