Sole Ashok Chakra goes to Jyoti Prakash Nirala, IAF Garud commando

Counter-terror force gets four awards from Prez
Last Updated 25 January 2018, 20:22 IST

 Jyoti Prakash Nirala,  a young  IAF Garud commando, who shot down two terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir before laying down his life, is the sole recipient of the Ashok Chakra this year  - the nation's highest peacetime gallantry award.

Three other IAF Garud commandos received the Shaurya Chakra, of which two were awarded posthumously.

President Ram Nath Kovind approved 390 gallantry awards and other defence decorations, including one Kirti Chakra and 14 Shaurya Chakras to armed forces personnel and others on the eve of the 69th Republic Day celebrations.

Four gallantry medals for the IAF Garud force, which was raised in 2003, marks the emergence of the India's youngest commando unit and the critical role it plays in the counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala, who hails from Rohtas in Bihar, is the first IAF person to receive a gallantry medal for ground operation.

His family  will receive the medal from the President  in Rajpath on Friday.

In November 2017, Nirala  was part of an operation by the 13 Rashtriya Rifle in Bandipora district in  Jammu and kashmir to apprehend six terrorists, including Ubaid alias Osama Jungi, the nephew of LeT commander Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi.

Nirala gunned down Jungi and Mehmud Bhai, who was the LeT's North Kashmir commander, and injured two others.

In the exchange of fire, Nirala was killed, but all six terrorists were gunned down in the operation.

The second-highest peacetime gallantry award, Kirti Chakra, was awarded to Major Vijayant Bist from Indian Army, while 9 other  armymen  received the Shaurya Chakra, mostly for anti-terror operations.

One Shaurya Chakra winner  received the medal for his bravery in an operation in Nagaland.

From the navy, flight diver Siba Thekho Pao  got a Nao Sena medal for saving 4 crew members of a tugboat off Mumbai in an extremely hostile situation.

(Published 25 January 2018, 15:46 IST)

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