New Delhi, April 9 (PTI): CRPF ASI Mohan Lal, who was killed while attempting to thwart the February 2019 Pulwama terror attack on a force bus, and NDRF Director General (DG) Atul Karwal were decorated with police gallantry medals at an event held here on Saturday.
Union Home secretary Ajay Bhalla pinned the medal on Karwal’s uniform, while he gave the medal, awarded posthumously, to Lal’s wife Sarita Devi during the “Valour Day” of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Lal (50) was among the 40 personnel killed during the Pulwama attack on a CRPF bus on February 14, 2019.
He was the picket commander of the CRPF road-opening party deployed at milestone number 272, near the BSNL tower in Pulwama’s Lethpora along the Jammu-Srinagar highway, when the dastardly attack was carried out by proscribed terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
The car that rammed into the CRPF bus was being driven by suicide bomber Adil Ahmed Dar with about 200 kg of explosives stuffed inside.
Lal’s citation said after a few vehicles of a CRPF cavalcade passed, the slain personnel noticed the car “running alongside the convoy and trying to enter between the convoy vehicles”.
The brave official “signalled and chased the car to stop but could not match its speed”.
“Ultimately, finding no other option, he fired towards the suspicious car from his AK rifle to stop it but the car rammed into a nearby running CRPF bus and a huge blast took place,” the citation read.
The sub-officer, who belonged to the 110th battalion of the force, was decorated with the highest President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG) for displaying bravery during the incident.
The Centre had declared the medal for Lal on the Republic Day last year.
Karwal, a 1988-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Gujarat cadre, is currently heading the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
He took charge of the NDRF in November last year while he was serving as the director of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad, the alma mater of IPS officers.
He continues to hold the additional charge of the academy.
Karwal was awarded the bravery medal for a counter-terrorist operation undertaken by him and his troops at the EDI complex in Srinagar in 2016, in which three members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were killed and around 100 employees of the institute rescued by the CRPF.
The officer was then serving as the inspector general (IG) of the CRPF in the Kashmir valley and this is his second bravery medal.
CRPF assistant commandant Naresh Kumar (36) was also decorated with the police medal for gallantry for undertaking a daring operation at a security force camp near the Srinagar airport in 2017 that led to the killing of three terrorists.
This is his seventh gallantry medal, making him the recipient of the highest number of bravery medals in the country’s largest paramilitary force.
Kumar was the commander of the Kashmir-based Quick Action Team (QAT) of the CRPF that has undertaken some of the most daring counter-terrorist operations in the valley.
As many as 100 gallantry medals were given away by the Home secretary during the event that is held annually to remember the heroic fightback by the CRPF men against a Pakistani brigade at the Sardar post in Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch in 1965.