For the first time in its history, Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel bagged Ashok, Kirti and Shaurya Chakras together, apart from the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry and 256 other gallantry medals, announced on the eve of Independence Day.
Assistant Sub Inspector Babu Ram, Constable Altaf Hussain Bhat and Special Police Officer Shahbaz Ahmad have been posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra, respectively.
These are the three highest peacetime gallantry awards, given for showing exemplary courage in service of the nation. The Ashoka Chakra is India’s highest peacetime gallantry honour; Kirti Chakra is the second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.
While ASI Babu Ram was awarded Ashok Chakra for making the supreme sacrifice during an assault against holed-up terrorists in Panthachowk last year, Constable Altaf was given Kirti Chakra for sacrificing his life while saving the life of a protected person attacked by militants in Ganderbal.
SPO Shahbaz was awarded Shaurya Chakra for his gallant action in a counter-terrorist operation in Khrew Awantipora last year, the police said.
Born on May 15, 1972 in Dharana village in the border town of Mendhar, of Poonch district of Jammu region, Babu Ram wanted to join the armed forces since his childhood, PTI reported, quoting officials. They said that after finishing schooling, Ram was appointed in J&K Police as a constable in 1999.
He was subsequently posted in the special operations group (SOG) Srinagar on July 27, 2002 and was part of various anti-terror operations in which several hardcore militants were killed, officials said. During his service in the anti-insurgency group, he remained part of 14 encounters in which 28 terrorists were gunned down, officials said.
Constable Bhat was a resident of Rathpora area of Safakadal in Srinagar. He was posted in Ganderbal, where he was performing PSO duty with a protected person. On October 6 last year, the protected person was attacked by militants.
“Bhat retaliated and killed the terrorist and saved the life of the protectee, but himself got severe bullet injuries and later succumbed, thus attaining martyrdom in the line of his duty,” PTI reported, quoting an official.
J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha commended the UT police for being on the forefront of the fight against militancy, saying that he was proud of the bravery and sacrifices made by J&K Police in defending the nation’s sovereignty. “Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and 257 police gallantry medals to JKP at the forefront of fight against terrorism is commendable,’’ Sinha tweeted.
J-K Police wrote on its official Twitter handle: “DGP Dilbag Singh salutes fallen heroes ASI Babu Ram, Const Altaf and SPO Shahbaz of JKP who bring [brought] honour and glory to the force in their sacrifice and service to the nation for which the Ministry of Defence has awarded the country’s highest peacetime honours.”
Police sub-inspector Amardeep was awarded the highest President’s Police Medal for gallantry, while CRPF head constable Kale Sunil Dattatraya, who died fighting terrorists in Pulwama last year, got it posthumously.
Of 628 Police Medal for Gallantry announced on Saturday, 398 personnel were decorated for their gallant action in J&K, 155 in Maoist-affected areas, and 27 in the Northeast. Apart from this, the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service (PPM) was awarded to 88 personnel and the Police Medal for Meritorious Service (PM) to 662.
J&K Police got most gallantry medals (257), followed by CRPF (151), Odisha Police (67), Maharashtra Police (25), ITBP (23) and Chhattisgarh Police (21).
With inputs from PTI