Ashok Chakra Current Affairs
President Ram Nath Kovind awarded India’s highest peacetime military decoration Ashok Chakra (31) posthumously to Indian Air Force (IAF) Garud commando Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala. He had laid down his life after gunning down two terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. He is the third Ashok Chakra for the IAF and its first for ground combat. Other two IAF officers are Rakesh Sharma (first and still only Indian citizen to go to space) and Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon posthumously decorated with the Param Vir Chakra in 1972.
Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala
He had joined the IAF in 2005 and was ‘Corporal’ when he was martyred. He was part of small Garud commando batch attached to Indian Army’s specialized counter-insurgency force, Rashtriya Rifles under the aegis of ‘Op Rakshak’ in J&K, when he was martyred.
On November 18, 2017, the Rashtriya Rifles-Garud team, acting on intelligence inputs, surrounded house in Chandragarh village in Hajin in J&K, when they came under heavy fire from terrorists holed up inside. Nirala, armed with light machine gun (LMG) had displayed conspicuous bravery in confronting terrorists and killing two to three of them despite himself being hit by bullets. The gunfight resulted in the killing of six terrorists. Corporal Nirala had exhibited most conspicuous gallantry in fighting with terrorists and made supreme sacrifice.
It is India’s highest peacetime military decoration awarded for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield It is the peace time equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra and is awarded for the most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice other than in the face of the enemy.
President Pranab Mukherjee has conferred the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award Ashok Chakra to Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami posthumously.
On the eve of 67th Republic Day celebrations President has approved 365 Gallantry awards and other Defence decorations to Armed Forces personnel and others. It includes one Ashoka Chakra, 4 Kirti Chakras and 11 Shaurya Chakras.
- Ashok Chakra: Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami (Posthumous). He belonged to 9 PARA (Special Force) and laid down his life while fighting LeT militants in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Kirti Chakra: Subedar Mahendra Singh of 9 PARA (Special Force).
- Sepoy Jagdish Chand (Posthumous) of 546 DSC Platoon.
- Shaurya Chakra: Colonel Santosh Mahadik (Posthumous) of 41 Rashtriya Rifle (PARA).
- Major Praphul Kumar Bhardwaj of 12 PARA (Special Force).
- Major Sandip Yadav of 55 Rashtriya Rifle (Armed).
- Major Anurag Kumar of 9 PARA (Special Force).
- Lieutenant Harjinder Singh of 3 KUMAON.
- Naik Satish Kumar (Posthumous) of 21 Rashtriya Rifle (Guards).
- Naik Kheem Singh Mehra of 21 KUMAON.
- Sepoy Dharma Ram (Posthumous) of 1 Rashtriya Rifle (MAHAR).
Kirti Chakra is the second highest peace time gallantry award i.e. awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle. Shaurya Chakra is third highest peace time gallantry award generally awarded for counterinsurgency operations and actions against the enemy during peace-time.