The two security personnel who died during the Pathankot air base attack in Janaury have been decorated with Shaurya Chakra, the third highest peacetime gallantry medal of the country, on the eve of the 70th Independence Day.
Lt Col Niranjan E K, head of NSG’s bomb disposal unit, was killed while sanitising a terrorist’s body during the terror attack.
Corporal Gursevek Singh of the IAF (security) was killed as he engaged the terrorists, preventing the terrorists from entering the technical area of the air base.
Niranjan, an officer of the Army’s Corps of Engineer, was part of the special NSG commandos unit that was rushed to the IAF base in Punjab after four terrorists entered the high-security military facility on the intervening night of January 1 and 2.
The NSG had said it lost the experienced and brilliant counter-IED officer to a deadly booby trap as the terrorists had used an “innovative technique” whose antidote was not included in the Standard Operating Procedure of the ‘black cat’ commandos force.
Niranjan’s lungs were punctured due to the impact of the blast of a grenade that was kept in the pocket of a slain terrorist, and the officer died before being taken to hospital.
Niranjan was probably the only officer who had a wide range of experience in conducting back-to-back anti-sabotage and sanitisation checks on live bombs, including defusing IEDs found in Patna and Bodh Gaya in Bihar, Bengaluru and Burdwan in West Bengal.
Gursevek, on the other hand, was part of search operations when he observed a group of terrorists and moved quickly to intercept them after alerting the whole assault squad.
In the process, his team came under intense fire from the terrorists, and he suffered three gunshot wounds. Despite his injuries, he continued to engage the terrorists till his last breath.
His resistance resulted in the terrorists being contained at the same spot for more than 25 minutes till the arrival of reinforcements.
IAF officer who led search op gets Vayu Medal
Squadron Leader Bhavesh Kumar Dubey, who led a team of IAF Special Forces for a search operation at Pathankot air base during the terrorist attack, has been awarded Vayu Sena Medal.
Despite suffering a gunshot wound in his thigh, Dubey and his team continued to engage the terrorists, thereby preventing them from entering the residential area and creating a possible hostage situation.
With inputs from PTI