In a season of awards and medals,the Maharashtra government has landed the Centre in a spot.
It has recommended all 16 policemen who died in the November terror attacks for the highest gallantry award,Ashok Chakra,the peacetime equivalent of Param Vir Chakra. It has also recommended 60 personnel for the gallantry medals.
The highest number of Ashok Chakras awarded in one year is three,after the Parliament attack in December 2001.
While The Indian Express has already reported that Assistant Sub-Inspector Tukaram Omble and Inspector Shashank Shinde are the only two Mumbai policemen on the list of eight Ashok Chakra winners considered for this year,the issue has become complicated with Mumbai Police going on record on the role of Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte.
The police have said that Kamte died after he engaged Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Ajmal Ameer Kasab with his AK-47 rifle and injured him. Omble and Shinde also directly engaged the terrorists that night and lost their lives.
Last week,Kamtes wife had said she was unhappy with the delay in clarifying the crucial role Kamte played on the first night of the Mumbai attacks.
The Maharashtra Government,in consultation with Mumbai Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor,recommended awarding the Ashok Chakra posthumously to all police personnel killed in the attacks,leaving the Centre with the task of shortlisting the awardees. The list of awardees is now with the President after being vetted by the Government.
The awards and medals will be announced on the eve of Republic Day.