Two fallen bravehearts to get Ashoka Chakra on Republic Day

New Delhi: Major Mukund Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh will be posthumously awarded the nation’s highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashoka Chakra, at the Republic Day parade Monday.

Both of them laid down their lives while fighting heavily-armed terrorists in separate gun-battles in Jammu and Kashmir last year.

Varadarajan, while leading an anti-terrorist operation in a village in Shopian district April 25, 2014, displayed exemplary leadership skills and courage – despite being wounded himself – which culminated in the elimination of three top-ranked Hizbul Mujaheddin terrorists. He later succumbed to his injuries.

Singh, while on a search operation in the state’s Kupwara district Aug 24, 2014, came under heavy fire from terrorists and got killed.

A total of 374 gallantry and other defence decorations to armed forces personnel have been announced on the occasion of 66th Republic Day.

These include an Ashoka Chakra (to Singh as Varadarajan’s award had been announced on Independence Day 2014), three Kirti Chakras, 12 Shaurya Chakras, 48 Sena Medals (Gallantry), two Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry), 11 Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry), 28 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, three Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, three Bar to Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 53 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 13 Yudh Seva Medals, 42 Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), eight Nao Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), 19 Vayu Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), four Bars to Vishisht Seva Medal and 124 Vishisht Seva Medal, a defence statement said.