A Mumbaikar has been awarded the Kirti Chakra, the second highest gallantry award, for his indomitable courage to fight militants in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Major Anup Joseph Manjali, a resident of Malad (W), is the only army officer to have been awarded this peacetime gallantry award — equivalent to the Mahavir Chakra in the time of war — this year.
On October 1 last year, Major Manjali, while commanding the Sutrun Company of 24 Rashtriya Rifles (Bihar), took on heavily-armed militants and killed three of them in close combat in Kupwara’s thick forests.
“While leading his patrol in a forested area in Kupwara sector, he noticed suspicious movements... Having cordoned off the area in a daring act of courage and leadership, he crawled and lobbed a grenade, killing one terrorist instantly. He killed two other terrorists from close quarters when they were trying to flee,” said Lt Col Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur.
Major Manjali is among the 96 brave men and officers of Northern Command, which has won the highest number of gallantry awards, who have been awarded.
The list of gallantry award winners includes 11 Shaurya Chakra awardees. Four of them have been awarded posthumously — Captain A Rahul Ramesh and Naiks Rajeshver Singh, Anil Kumar and Krishan Kumar, and a naval officer. There will not be any Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry medal, awarded this year.