Ashok Chakra to two Army bravehearts
Nation saluted Major Mukund Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh with the highest peacetime military honour 'Ashok Chakra' on this year Republic Day.
Both the bravehearts were honoured posthumously for showing outstanding valor in the face of deadly terror attacks.
The awards were received by their wives.
The Exemplary Courage
- Mukund Varadarajan (44th Battalion of the Rastriya Rifles), while leading an anti-terrorist search operation in village Qazipathri in J&K (in April 2014), came under heavy fire from a group of Hizbul Mujaheddin terrorists.
- He displayed exemplary leadership skills, raw courage planning and swift action to eliminate the three top ranked Hizbul terrorists.
- Sadly, he attained martyrdom in the operation.
- In August 2014, Naik Neeraj Singh of 57th Battalion (Rashtriya Rifles) was leading a search operation in general area Gurdaji of Kupwara district.
- The terrorist hiding there launched a surprise and intense firing on the search team injuring the Singh.
- He, however, refused to be evacuated till he fell unconscious. Evacuated later, he succumbed to injuries due to too much bleeding.
Peacetime equivalents of prominent gallantry awards
- Ashoka Chakra: is the peacetime equivalent of the nation's greatest gallantry award 'Param Vir Chakra' - awarded only for wartime valour.
- Kirti Chakra: Peacetime equivalent of the Maha Vir Chakra (Second in the order of precedence)
- Shaurya Chakra: Peacetime equivalent of the Vir Chakra (Third in the order of precedence)
- Col NJ Nair is the sole recipient of both the Kirti Chakra and the Ashok Chakra in India. Peacetime bravery awards may even go to civilian personnel.