President confers gallantry awards
Heroes of Uttarakhand flood relief operations and an army officer martyred in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir were among those honoured with gallantry awards by President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday.
Wing Commander Darryl Castelino, who rescued several pilgrims during the Uttarakhand flash floods, was awarded the Kirti Chakra posthumously.
Castelino died when his Mi-17 helicopter crashed during Operation Rahat.
Lt. Commander Abhilash Tomy who sailed around the world solo in a sail boat, without any assistance or engines for propulsion and Major Mahesh Kumar, who has several stories of valour against terrorists, were also given the Kirti Chakra.
Kirti Chakra is given for courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Maha Vir Chakra and second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.
Lt. Col. Bikramjit Singh, who was martyred in the terror attack on an army camp in Samba sector of Jammu, was honoured with the Shaurya Chakra.
Shaurya Chakra is awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy.
Operation Rahat heroes -- Flight Lieutenant K. Praveen and Wing Commander Nikhil Naidu were also awarded the Shaurya Chakra.
Praveen got the honour posthumously.
A total of 10 Shaurya Chakras were awarded.
President Mukherjee also gave away 15 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, two Uttam Yudh Seva Medals, and 22 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals.
The Param Vishisht Seva Medal is awarded in recognition of peace-time service of the most exceptional order.
The Uttam Yudh Seva Medal is a military decoration for wartime distinguished service. It is awarded for a high degree of distinguished service in an operational context, which includes times of war, conflict or hostilities.
The Ati Vishisht Seva Medal is given for "distinguished service of an exceptional order" to all ranks of the armed forces.
(Posted on 22-03-2014)