Col B Santosh Babu, the commanding officer of 16 Bihar regiment who along with 19 other Indian soldiers were killed in a brutal clash with the Chinese soldiers at the Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh, on Monday, posthumously received the Maha Vir Chakra – the nation’s second-highest war-time military decoration.
Five other Galwan bravehearts—Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren, Naik Deepak Singh (both from 16 Bihar); Hav K Palani (81 Field Regiment) Hav Tejinder Singh (3 Medium Artillery regiment) and Sep Gurtej Singh (3 Punjab) – received the Vir Chakra, the nation’s third-highest war-time gallantry award.
All of them were part of Indian Army’s Operation Snow Leopard that was tasked to establish an observation post in the Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh in face of the enemy when they came under attack from the Chinese PLA troops, leading to brutal combat in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Others in the gallantry award list are Sub Sanjiv Kumar from 4 Para who received Kirti Chakra - the nation’s second-highest peacetime gallantry award – posthumously for an anti-terror operation in the Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir in which his squad was to intercept and eliminate an infiltration track of Pakistan sponsored terrorists.
Paratrooper Sonam Tshering Tamang, also a part of the same operation, received Shaurya Chakra for the courage and bravery he showed in the mission.
Four CRPF personnel received the Kirti Chakra but unfortunately three of them –inspector Pintu Kumar Singh and constables Shyam Narain Singh Yadava and Vinod Kumar – got it posthumously. The fourth recipient is CRPF commandant Rahul Mathur.
From the Army, two other recipients of Shaurya Chakras are Bangalore-born Maj Anuj Sood from the Brigade of Guards who received gallantry award posthumously for an anti-terror operation in Watsar forest of Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir and Rifleman Pranab Jyoti Das from 6 Assam Rifle for displaying unparalleled fighting spirit in an operation in south Arunachal Pradesh.
Four Jammu and Kashmir police personnel – Arshad Khan, Naseer Ahmad Kolie, GM Mustafa Barah and Bilal Ahmad Magray – posthumously received the Shaurya Chakra.
The President has approved awards of 455 gallantry and other Defence decorations to armed Forces personnel and others on the eve of 72nd Republic Day celebrations.
These include one Mahavir Chakra, 5 Kirti Chakras, 5 Vir Chakras, 7 Shaurya Chakras, 4 Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), 130 Sena Medal (Gallantry), one Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry) and 4 Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).