President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday appeared emotional after he awarded the Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peacetime military decoration, posthumously to Air Force Garud commando Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala.
Corporal Nirala laid down his life after gunning down two terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district in November.
After presenting the award to Corporal Nirala’s wife Sushmanand and his mother Malti Devi at the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, Mr Kovind was seen wiping his face and eyes with his handkerchief.
Corporal Nirala was part of a Garud special forces unit of the IAF, a detachment of which was attached to a Rashtriya Rifles battalion under the aegis of “Op Rakshak”.
On November 18 last year, an offensive was launched in Chanderger village of Bandipora based on specific intelligence. The Garud detachment covertly approached the target house where the terrorists were hiding and laid a close quarter ambush. In the violent exchange of fire, Corporal Nirala was hit by a volley of small arms fire. Despite being critically injured, he continued the retaliatory fire. He later succumbed to the fatal gunshot wounds.
“Corporal Nirala, displaying exceptional battle craft, positioned himself close to the approach of the hideout, thus cutting off all possibilities of an escape by the terrorists. Laying the ambush at such close quarters demanded a very high degree of courage and professional acumen,” said a statement by the defence ministry.
While the detachment laid in wait, six terrorists hiding in the house, rushed out, shooting and lobbing grenades at the Garuds. “Corporal Nirala, disregarding personal safety and displaying indomitable courage, retaliated with effective lethal fire and gunned down two category ‘A’ terrorists and injured two others,” the statement said.