While my Republic day was spent as I’d (once in a while) want it to — in a train on a cross-country ride that spanned numerous states and 2500 KM, The Hindustan Times Republic Day special, New Delhi late city edition, has something I’d want to be published a little more often. This newspaper, already 2 days old and living in a constant threat of being pushed in a pile of its older counterparts, has things I’d like to mention on my blog here. So before this forewarning becomes realistic any further, here I would like to take 9 names that spell Bravery, Heroism and much more. Most of these people mentioned below, have been awarded the country’s highest Gallantry Awards. In a country so short of heroes, here are a few. I am producing this as is, from the newspaper — Lest we forget.
1. Ajitesh Singh, Age 34
Chhattisgarh police inspector, veteran of eight encounters with armed Naxalities, the last on January 9, 2006, which left him with five bullet wounds. He survived, but three bullets still remain embedded in his chest.
2. B.K. Sharma, Age 50
Central Reserve Police Commandant whose 24 member platoon warded off an attack by over 100 armed Naxalites on August 22, 2006, as it was traveling through a forested road in Jharkhand’s Palamau district.
3. Gajendra Singh Bisht, Age 36
National Security Guards havildar, member of the commando team that descended down a rope from a helicopter above onto the roof of Mumbai’s Nariman House to rescue the residents being held hostage by the November 26 attackers. Killed by a terrorist’s bullet.
4. Mohan Chand Sharma, Age 41
Delhi Police Inspector. Shot dead on September 19, 2008, as her led the raid on alleged Indian Mujahideen terrorists responsible for serial blasts in the city, killing 26 people. In his 19-year long career, he had put to death 35 terrorists and 40 gangsters.
5. Muzaffar Ahmed Bhat, Age 21
Army sepoy killed in encounter with armed militants in Pulwama on December 4, 2007, as he tried to carry an injured colleague to safety.
6. Pramod Satpathy, Age 43
Assistant Commandant Special Operations Group, Orissa, who led the police team that chased a band of over 500 Naxalites which had killed 13 Policemen and looted arms at Nayagarh on February 15, 2008. Satpathy was killed in the encounter.
7. Raymond P. Diengdoh, Age 32
Meghalaya Deputy Superintendent of Police who led the raid upon a militant camp in the Paham-Umdoh forests bordering Assam on November 6, 2007. Hit early by a bullet, he still carried on with the operation, capturing two militants before he died.
8. Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Age 32
Major in the National Security Guards, killed while leading the team that flushed out the terrorists who had taken over Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel on November 26, 2008.
9. Tukaram Omble, Age 53
Mumbai Police sub inspector who captured the sole surviving terrorist of the November 26, 2008 attack on Mumbai, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. Held on to Kasab until he died, despite being riddled by terrorists’ bullets.