ON Monday, three policemen made the Mumbai Police proud. Of the 41 personnel from the state who won the prestigious President’s police medal for meritorious and distinguished services on Independence Day, three are from the local city police.
For head constable Arun Jadhav, who took five bullets on the night of the 26/11 carnage, this was the third medal, this time for meritorious service. In 2009, he won the President’s police medal for gallantry. “The 2009 award is the most special for me as it was for the 26/11 attack,” Jadhav told The Indian Express.
Jadhav, who is at present part of the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Mumbai Police, was present in the ill-fated Toyota Qualis which was driven by his boss, slain encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar. Two other senior officers Ashok Kamte and Hemant Karkare were also in the vehicle. While six policemen were killed by Ajmal Kasab and his partner Ismail Khan, Jadhav survived.
“When the duo dumped the Qualis and car-jacked a Skoda , I immediately informed the control room about it. Soon after, they managed to nab Kasab from Girgaum Chowpatty,” he said. The rest, as is said, is history.
Another awardee is Firoz Patel, an Assistant Police Inspector, who has been at the forefront of various helplines started by the police, including the helpline for senior citizens.
“It is a great feeling to be recognised for one’s work and I wish to continue with the same zeal. I owe this to the support I have received from my superiors and my colleagues,” Patel said.
For Patel, it’s the elderly helpline that is the most challenging task. “Most of the times, there are desperate calls from lonely people who have no grievance; just no one to talk to. In this case, we are not dealing with a law-and-order situation but just helping an elderly person cope with anxiety,” said Patel.
Another on the list is Assistant Commissioner of Police Sanjay Kadam. A man of few words, Kadam was part of the Special Investigation Team which probed into the alleged Rs 5,600-crore National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scam. Kadam also assisted in the Sheena Bora murder case. Known to be a close aide of IPS officer Rakesh Maria, most of his postings were headed by Maria.
While August 15 is an apt occasion to honour these men, the essence of their jobs can be summed up in the words of Jadhav’s wife, Ashwini.
“With all these Independence Day threats we keep hearing about, I worry a lot when my husband steps out for work on August 15,” she says.