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This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » A Father's Long Wait For His Son's Shaurya Chakra

A Father's Long Wait For His Son's Shaurya Chakra

September 08, 2022 07:13 IST
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The medal was parcelled to his home. He sent it back.
'It should be conferred at the ceremonial function in Rashtrapati Bhavan.'

IMAGE: Lance Naik Gopal Singh Bhadoriya. All Photographs: Kind courtesy Munim Singh Bhadoriya.

A box arrived at Munim Singh Bhadoriya's home in Ahmedabad three days ago by Indian Post from an army unit in Jabalpur.

A word on the box that indicated what lay inside was 'gallantry.'

Mr Bhadoriya knew that the box contained the Shaurya Chakra, the third highest medal for gallantry awarded to his son Lance Naik Gopal Singh Bhadoriya killed in action while fighting terrorists in Kulgam, Jammu and Kashmir, five years ago.

Mr Bhadoriya did not sign for the parcel and requested the postman to take it back.

"The medal is the heart of my son who sacrificed his life in the service of the country; he has earned the medal by his blood. It is sacred and should be given the honour it deserves," says Mr Bhadoriya in a phone conversation with's Archana Masih from Ahmedabad where he lives.

"It should not have been sent by post, but presented in the formal defence investiture ceremony by the supreme commander of the armed forces at Rashtrapati Bhavan like it is done for all gallantry awardees. This way, Indian people will come to know of my son's bravery which will inspire many young soldiers."

"My son's valour is being denied its rightful honour," says the soldier's father in distress.

Prior to the J&K operation where he fell in action, Lance Naik Gopal Singh Bhadoriya had been part of other daring tasks in his 14 years in the Indian Army. He was part of the National Security Guard operation against Pakistani terrorists inside the Taj Mahal hotel during the Mumbai Terror Attacks of 2008.

In the three-day operation to eliminate the terrorists, he had carried a fellow injured soldier to an ambulance braving sustained fire from the terrorists, according to an account of his valour on Honourpoint, an online memorial to the Indian soldier.

Lance Naik Bhadoriya was awarded the Vishishth Seva Medal for his bravery in extremely hostile conditions.

Nine years later, he was in the middle of another encounter with four terrorists inside a house in Kulgam, south of Srinagar.

He along with Sepoy Raghubir Singh were the lead pair that entered the house and launched an assault on the holed up terrorists. Both the soldiers displayed exceptional bravery without caring for personal safety and sustained grievous injuries in the heavy gun battle. Four terrorists were killed by security forces that night.

Both Lance Naik Bhadoriya and Sepoy Singh succumbed to their injuries. They were honoured with the Shaurya Chakra posthumously.

But Lance Naik Bhadoriya's award was put on hold during the defence investiture ceremony in 2017 because of a dispute between his former wife and his parents about the rightful next of kin to receive the award.

Since the matter was in court, Lance Naik Gopal Bhadoriya's father wrote a letter to the ministry of defence requesting them not to present the award to the divorced wife until the court gave its final order regarding the rightful next of kin.

The matter was finally settled in 2021. The court in Ahmedabad ruled that the parents would receive the gallantry award.

The family pension has been spilt between the parents and ex-wife.

IMAGE: Munim Singh Bhadoriya, right, the late Lance Naik Gopal Singh Bhadoriya's father.

Mr Bhadoriya then sent the court order to the Integrated HQ of the ceremonial and welfare section of the India Army and requested that the Shaurya Chakra be presented to them at the defence investiture ceremony since the matter had been duly settled by the court.

In response, the directorate of signals, Integrated HQ of the ministry of defence replied that the case was forwarded to the ministry of defence for inclusion of the award during defence investiture ceremony 2022 as requested by Mr Bhadoriya.

However as per the direction received from concerned authority, if any awardee is unable to receive the award in the investiture ceremony in which their name has been listed [2017 as in Lance Naik Gopal Bhadoriya's case], he shall not be invested with the same in a subsequent ceremony.

His request to receive the award from the President was not approved. Instead, the director general, Signals was entrusted the responsibility of handing over the medal and certificate of honour.

The letter further said that a signals officer would be honoured to preside over the ceremony as per Mr Bhadoriya's availability and willingness.

Mr Bhadoriya feels receiving the medal and citation in any other place or from any other person except the President does not do justice to the sacrifice of a gallantry awardee.

"My son deserves the respect and honour as per the protocol of the presentation of gallantry awards. My request is that my son's name be included in the list of awardees whenever the next defence investiture ceremony takes place or any other time in the future," says Mr Bhadoriya, a retired security staff.

His other son works in the home guard, while four other relatives have served in the Indian Army.

Citing a Himachal Pradesh high court judgment last year that said that gallantry award recipients should be conferred in ceremonial functions only on Independence Day or Republic Day, he says, "The court order said that sending the medal by courier was a breach of protocol."

IMAGE: Vikas Manhas, left, has met over 1,000 families whose loved ones made the supreme sacrifice for the country with Munim Singh Bhadoriya.

The family has built two memorials in their soldier son's memory and look forward to the day when they will display the Shaurya Chakra and citation in a revered place in their home.

It has been four days since Mr Bhadoriya returned the box containing the Shaurya Chakra. He hopes the government and the Indian Army will heed his request and invite him to receive the honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan one day.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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