The country's largest paramilitary force CRPF has been bestowed with the highest number of 73 gallantry medals for undertaking counter-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir and in various Maoist violence affected states.
It also earned four Kirti Chakras announced by the Ministry of Defence, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said in a statement.
Inspector Pintu Kumar Singh, head constable Shyam Narain Singh Yadava and constable Vinod Kumar of the 92nd battalion have been posthumously decorated with the Kirti Chakra, the second highest peacetime gallantry medal.
The three laid down their lives in a fierce gunfight with terrorists that raged for almost 34 hours in Jammu-Kashmir's Kupwara in February 2019. Two foreign terrorists were killed in this gun battle that claimed the lives of five security forces personnel, including two from JK police's special operations group (SOG).
Deputy Commandant Rahul Mathur, who was grievously wounded during a counter-terrorist operation in Batmaloo, Srinagar in September last year has also been awarded with the Kirti Chakra, the force said.
The officer, chief of its house intervention team in the Kashmir Valley, was under treatment at the 92 base hospital for about 10 days after he was shot twice in the chest and abdomen during this action. He is "back in action" now and has resumed duty, a senior officer said.
A medals’ tally released by the Union home ministry showed that the force has been decorated with the highest Presidents' Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG), posthumously for Assistant Sub Inspector Mohan Lal who was killed during the 2019 Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, while rest of the medals are in the second-highest category of Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG).
Jammu and Kashmir Police received 52 police gallantry medals followed by 20 by the Border Security Force, 17 by the Delhi Police and 13 by Maharashtra Police and others.
Out of the 69 police bravery decorations earned by the CRPF, 61 medals have been given to troops who displayed courage and dedication to duty in the Jammu-Kashmir theatre, while the rest came from operations undertaken in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states.
"It is a moment of great pride for the entire force that the grateful nation has bestowed their love on us and has honoured the gallantry and valour of our bravehearts with a total of 73 gallantry medals on this Republic Day.
"We salute the bravery and selfless devotion to duty of ASI Mohan Lal who has been awarded with PPMG posthumously," CRPF Director General A P Maheshwari said.
The chief of the about 3.25 lakh personnel strong force said such decorations give an "immense boost to the morale of the force personnel" and paid his tributes to the three troops who were awarded the Kirti Chakra posthumously and Deputy Commandant Mathur for undertaking a successful operation.
Among the PMG recipients are two officers in the deputy inspector general (DIG) rank, Komal Singh and P C Jha.
Singh has received his second bravery medal this time for "displaying conspicuous gallantry in the face of adversity" during an action against Maoists in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district in June, 2015.
Jha has been awarded for an operation of September, 2018 in Jammu where the CRPF killed three foreign terrorists in a joint operation with other security forces.
The citation said Jha and his troops displayed "indomitable fighting spirit and devotion to duty in the face of clear and imminent death".
The CRPF, raised in 1939, is designated as the lead internal security force of the country and forms the core team of counter-terrorist forces deployed in JK, including the Army and the UT police.