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A total of 154 Indian Army officers and personnel were conferred gallantry awards, including six Shaurya Chakra, on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day, the Indian Army said on Saturday.

A total of six Shaurya Chakra have been awarded, of which one is posthumous. Bar to Sena medal (gallantry) has been awarded to four, Sena Medal (gallantry) awarded to 116, including 15 posthumous, and Mention-in-Despatches to 28 Army officers which includes three posthumous.

Six Indian Army officers and personnel have been honoured with India's third-highest gallantry medal in peacetime, Shaurya Chakra for their bravery in counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Major Ravi Kumar Chaudhary, Major Arun Kumar Pandey, Captain Vikas Khatri, Captain Ashutosh Kumar (posthumous), Sepoy Neeraj Ahlawat and Rifleman Mukesh Kumar were conferred the Shaurya Chakra for their bravery during counter-terrorism operations in the Kashmir valley.

On June 9, 2020, Major Arun Kumar Pandey received an intelligence input about five terrorists in a village of Jammu and Kashmir. He was able to pinpoint the likely location of the terrorists in a huge orchard with dense undergrowth.

Major Pandey sited a gap free cordon and led the search for the terrorists. He observed suspicious movement in the dense undergrowth towards which he advanced tactically with his fellow soldiers. Suddenly, he was met with indiscriminate fire to which he retaliated after taking cover in the folds of the ground. He crawled forward through the burst of terrorist fire and neutralized one terrorist by his own fire. In doing so, he came in the line of fire of another terrorist. Major Arun swiftly rolled sideways and moved forward to engage him at close quarters, thereby neutralizing him. He neutralized two terrorists.

Since April 2019, Major Ravi Kumar Chaudhary participated and exhibited exceptional resoluteness resulting in elimination of 13 terrorists.

On June 2, 2020, specific input about the presence of three terrorists in a village of Jammu and Kashmir was received. Once the presence of terrorists was confirmed on June 3, 2020 at 6.20 a.m, Major Ravi re-aligned the cordon.

He along with his fellow soldiers crawled forward under intense terrorist fire. The hiding terrorists also fired Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) grenades and rushed out in a bid to escape.

Appreciating the grave danger to his fellow soldier, he pushed him aside exposing himself to heavy terrorist fire. Maintaining his tactical composure, Major Ravi Kumar Chaudhary effectively engaged the fleeing terrorists at close range resulting in the elimination of one terrorist and grievously injuring another terrorist.

Late Captain Ashutosh Kumar, Commander of the Ghatak Platoon, at a post close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir on November 8, 2020 received information of a likely escape by terrorists.

He proceeded to establish stops along the likely routes of escape by terrorists. At 6.30 a.m. a cut off group led by Captain Ashutosh observed the movements of the escaping terrorists.

The officer displaying raw courage continued to maintain contact and closed in with the terrorists. While closing in, the scout of the group sustained a bullet injury. Sensing grave danger to his own troops and seeing the terrorists escape, Captain Ashutosh displaying nerves of steel took an aimed shot and brought down the terrorists at a very close range. In the ensuing gunfire he sustained a gunshot wound and succumbed to his injuries on the spot.

Captain Vikas Khatri during domination patrol in Jammu and Kashmir's Peer Panjal Range on December 12, 2000 and December 13, 2000 evening spotted foot trails on the fresh snow. He immediately followed the foot trails and detected the presence of terrorists. He cordoned off the area by tactically siting the stops thereby blocking the exit routes, paving the way for culmination of operation, neutralisation of two terrorists and apprehension of one terrorist.

Rifleman Mukesh Kumar was part of a cordon-and-search operation launched on July 16 at 11.45 p.m. based on specific intelligence of the likely presence of terrorists in a remote village of Kashmir.

At 5.10 a.m, as civilians were being evacuated from the target house, Rifleman Mukesh received a radio call of a suspect approaching his side of the cordon. He controlled his own fire to prevent casualties among civilians but was mentally alert to discern a weapon that a civilian was concealing under his clothing.

On being challenged, the civilian, who was a terrorist, attempted to draw up his weapon to fire but Rifleman Mukesh physically wrestled with the terrorist, who was shocked by the ferocity of the assault.

He kept attacking the terrorist with the butt of his weapon inspite of sustaining a gunshot wound.

On June 20, 2020, Sepoy Neeraj Ahlawat was part of the initial cordon during an Operation in Jammu and Kashmir in which a Pakistani terrorist was eliminated.

At nearly 4.50 p.m., Sepoy Neeraj observed terrorists firing indiscriminately towards the inner cordon in a bid to escape, taking cover behind civilians using them as human shields.

Sepoy Neeraj waited for an opportune moment and fired accurately at the fleeing terrorists. One of the terrorists was eliminated on the spot. The second terrorist opened heavy fire towards Sepoy Neeraj at close range. Despite grave danger, Sepoy Neeraj showed indomitable courage to hold onto his position and continued engaging the second terrorist, injuring him.
 

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