One personnel was awarded the Kirti Chakra and 20 officers were awarded the Shaurya Chakra.

131 personnel from armed and paramilitary forces conferred Gallantry Awards on I-DayPTI/Image for representation
news Independence Day Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - 11:04

A total of 131 personnel from the armed and paramilitary forces were conferred the Gallantry Awards on the occasion of India celebrating its 72nd Independence Day.

Of the 131 awards, one personnel was awarded the Kirti Chakra – the second-highest peacetime honour after the Ashoka Chakra, and 20 officers were awarded the Shaurya Chakra – the third-highest peacetime honour.

Sepoy Vrahma Pal Singh was posthumously conferred with the Kirti Chakra, which recognises valour or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle. In November 2017, he was killed in a terror encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Algar village. He was part of the Combat Action Team under Captain Kaninder Paul Singh.

The 20 Shaurya Chakra’s included Major Aditya Kumar, who courted controversy after his unit, the 10 Garhwal Rifles, opened fire on a group of stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir, killing three people. The incident occurred in south Kashmir’s Shopian district in January this year. The police filed an FIR against the unit, but Major Aditya’s father, Lt. Col. Karamveer Singh moved the Supreme Court, which restrained the police from taking action against the unit.

His inclusion in the list sparked much outrage in Jammu and Kashmir, with the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party saying that it would further alienate Jammu and Kashmir from the national discourse.

Rifleman Aurangzeb was awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously. He was attacked and murdered by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district in June when he was on his way home for Eid.

The awardees also included the six all-women Navy crew, who historically circumnavigated the globe earlier this year.

Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, who captained the expedition, Lieutenant Commander Prathibha Jamwal, Lieutenants Swathi Patarpalli, Aishwarya Boddapati, S Vijaya Devi and Payal Gupta were conferred the Nao Sena medal, which recognises individual acts of devotion to duty.

The crew, which sailed INS Tarini, undertook a historic eight-month journey and covered more than 21,600 nautical miles.

Most of the army personnel awarded the Gallantry Awards this year are posted in Jammu and Kashmir.

Read: Manned space mission, OROP, triple talaq: 10 things PM Modi focussed on in I-day speech

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