Ashok Chakra for Hangpan Dada, Lt Col Niranjan gets Shaurya Chakra


Pathankot martyrs Lt Col E K Niranjan (Army) and Corporal Gursevak Singh (IAF) are among the recipients of the Shaurya Chakra. President Pranab Mukherjee approved the gallantry awards on the eve of Independence Day on Sunday.

Dada, an Assam Regiment soldier, killed three terrorists in an operation in May in Jammu and Kashmir, but unfortunately fell to the bullet of the fourth terrorist, who was eliminated later.

On the night of May 26, close to the Line of Control, Dada and his men from the 35 Rashtriya Rifles’ Sabu post were engaged with terrorists who infiltrated into India. The site of the encounter was at an altitude of 12,500 ft in the Nawgam sector.

When Dada’s men detected their movements, the terrorists took cover behind the snow-clad boulders. A burst of automatic fire from the fourth terrorist caught Dada unawares, but he continued the fight and managed to kill the terrorist.

Enrolled in the 3 Para regiment in 1997, the 37-year-old armyman, who used to have snakes as pets, later switched to the Assam regiment. He is survived by his wife Chasen Lowang Dada and two children, aged 7 and 11.

Dada’s Ashok Chakra tops the list of 82 gallantry awards for the armed forces personnel and members of the paramilitary forces. Besides the Ashok Chakra, there are 14 Shaurya Chakras, 63 Sena Medals, two Nau Sena Medals and two Vayu Sena Medals.

However, no one has been selected for the Kirti Chakra, the nation’s second highest peace time gallantry award. Radha Shivarajan, NSG commando Lt Col Niranjan’s mother, said her son was a hero of the nation.

“We are proud about the award. He was our hero, and one of the nation too. The honours from the government will go a long way in encouraging more youth to join the armed forces and fight for our country,” Radha, a resident of Dodda Bommasandra, told DH.

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