Two Central Reserve Police Force officers, who killed top Maoist leader Kishenji in West Bengal, were on Saturday honoured with the Shaurya Chakra by President Pranab Mukherjee along with 12 personnel from the Army and the Indian Air Force.
The Shaurya Chakra is the third highest peacetime gallantry award. Two jawans including Naiks Rajeshver Singh and Anil Kumar of the Punjab Regiment were awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously for repulsing a terrorist attack from across the Line of Control in Kupwara in September last year.
Major Chandrashekhar Singh of the Army Aviation Corps also got the award posthumously. Singh died while carrying out air maintenance operation in the Siachen Glacier.
Assistant Commandants Nagendra Singh and Vinoj P Joseph were also honoured with the Shaurya Chakra. On a tip off on November 14, 2011 about movement of about five to seven armed Maoists in the jungle area of village Burisole, about 13 Kms from Jhagram, a joint operation of CRPF and state police was launched by Singh and Joseph.
While scanning the area, a team of CRPF's CoBRA personnel including Singh and Joseph suddenly came under a volley of fire from the Maoists.
In the encounter, Singh was hit and injured with splinters from a grenade while Joseph was pinned down by a hail of bullets even as the fierce gun battle continued for several minutes.
This sudden counter attack left the Maoists unnerved who made a retreat. After the firing stopped, a thorough search of the area was carried out in which a body with one AK-47 was found. The body was later identified to be that of Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji.
Major Saurav Suyal was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for killing a terrorist hiding in a house in Sopore in Jammu and Kashmir. The officer has earlier been awarded the Sena Medal twice.
Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag and South Western Army Commander Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan were among the 39 senior officers awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medals and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.