Updated: January 25, 2021 5:13:59 pm
A CRPF ASI who chased and fired at the bomb-laden car that killed 40 soldiers in the February 2019 Pulwama attack, an ITBP IG negotiating with Chinese PLA in Ladakh, and two CBI officers who supervised probe into the Hathras gangrape-and-murder case and the Jammu and Kashmir Roshni Act cases are among the 900 gallantry and service medal winners this Republic Day.
Only two President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG) have been conferred this year with one going to Jharkhand police ASI Banua Oraon in an anti-Maoist operation in 2018 and the other going to CRPF’s ASI Mohan Lal for his attempt to prevent the 2019 Pulwama attack. Both died while performing their duties.
According to CRPF, On February 14, 2019, when the attack took place, ASI Mohan Lal was the picket commander of the road opening party at Lethpora in Pulwama on the Jammu–Srinagar National Highway. At about 3.10 pm Lal noticed a civil car, running alongside the CRPF convoy passing through the area and trying to enter between the convoy vehicles.
“Lal sensed something suspicious and rushed to stop the suspicious vehicle. Lal signalled and chased the car to stop, but could not match the car’s speed. Ultimately, finding no other option, he fired towards the suspicious car to stop, but the car rammed into a nearby running CRPF bus, and a huge blast took place,” Lal’s citation read. The blast killed 40 CRPF soldiers, including Lal.
Meanwhile, ITBP IG Deepam Seth, who heads the force’s Northwest Frontier, is among the 89 recipients of the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service. An IPS officer of the Uttarakhand cadre, Seth has been part of all Corps Commander level meetings held between Indian and Chinese forces since June last year in Ladakh. The last Corps Commander level talks to ease the situation in Eastern Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese forces are locked in a standoff since May last year, was held on Sunday.
Seth also led the force in the rescue of Indian Army soldiers during the June 15, 2020 clash at Galwan when 20 Indian soldiers died. He was also part of the operations when Indian forces made the pre-emptive move on the South Bank of Pangong Tso in August-September, 2020 and took certain advantageous positions at Rezang La.
CBI Joint Directors Sampat Meena and Vineet Vinayak are among six officers from the agency who have been awarded Distinguished Service medals.
Heading the Lucknow branch of the CBI, Meena supervised investigations into the Hathras case where a Dalit woman was allegedly gangraped and murdered by upper caste men last year. Meena’s team recently filed a chargesheet against the accused. She is also said to have supervised investigations into the rape case against former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar for some time.
Vineet Vinayak, who is currently heading the Chandigarh unit of the CBI, has supervised investigations into what is popularly called the Roshni land scam in Jammu and Kashmir. The J&K administration has alleged that top influential political families in Kashmir, including that of Farooq Abdullah and several top PDP leaders, have encroached government land.
As many as 24 other officers of the agency have been conferred meritorious service medals. Apart from this, 73 personnel from fire services across the country have been awarded Fire Service Medals. Out of these, President’s Fire Service Medal for Gallantry has been awarded to eight personnel and Fire Service Medal for Gallantry has been awarded to two personnel.
Jammu and Kashmir police among state police forces and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) among central armed police forces (CAPFs) have once again cornered the lion’s share of gallantry medals this year. Of the 205 Police Medals for Gallantry (PMG) awarded this year, J&K has bagged 52, while CRPF has been conferred 68. BSF has bagged 20 such medals while Delhi is second in the list of states after J&K with 17 medals while Maharashtra is a close third with 13.
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