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26/11 hero's family refuses to accept 'Shaurya Chakra' sent by post; call it an 'insult'

Lance Naik Gopal Singh Bhadoriya laid down his life during a gun-battle with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir five years ago. He was earlier awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal for being part of a NSG commando group that clearing the Taj Hotel during the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.

gujarat 26/11 hero Lance Naik Gopal Singh Bhadoriya family refuses to accept 'Shaurya Chakra' sent by post; call it an 'insult' snt
First Published Sep 8, 2022, 8:25 PM IST

The family of a soldier, who lost his life in a gunfight with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir five years ago, has refused to accept the 'Shaurya Chakra' gallantry medal that was sent by post to their house in Gujarat, claiming it is a "insult" to their late son Lance Naik Gopal Singh Bhadoriya.

On September 5, Bhadoriya's father Munim Singh returned a postal courier containing the 'Shaurya Chakra', which was awarded to his son posthumously a year after he died in the line of duty in February 2017. 

Also read: Remember and Never Forget: Capt Amit Joshi, 7/11 Gorkha Rifles

Singh, who lives in the Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad city, demanded that the country's third-highest peacetime gallantry award be handed over to the family at a ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. 

"The Army can not send the medal through post. This is not only a violation of protocols, but also an insult to a martyr and his family. That is why I have not accepted the parcel containing the medal and returned it saying 'I can not accept it'", a visibly upset Singh told PTI. 

"Such medals are always conferred at a ceremony held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 26 or August 15 and the entire nation sees the event on TV. If not the President, then the medal is given to the family by a senior Army officer. But, it should never be delivered through courier," he said. 

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Bhadoriya was 33 when he laid down his life. In 2018, the brave soldier was posthumously awarded the Shaurya Chakra, the third-highest peacetime gallantry award after the Ashok Chakra and the Kirti Chakra. For his service in a National Security Guard (NSG) commando team entrusted with purging the Taj Hotel of terrorists during the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai, he was previously given the 'Vishisht Seva Medal'.

Since the soldier and his wife divorced in 2011, Singh has been attempting to prevent his estranged daughter-in-law from obtaining both the award and his service benefits. In 2018, Singh knocked on the doors of a city civil court. Even though Bhadoriya and his wife had separated, the court did not give a divorce judgement since he could not appear in court owing to his military obligations.

"As the city civil court had put a stay (on case proceedings), the medal was not conferred all these years. Then in September 2021, we won the legal battle as the court ruled the medal and all other service benefits should be handed over to the soldier's parents and not his estranged wife," said Singh. 

"We then informed Army officials and the office of the Defence Minister about the court order and requested them to hand over the medal and benefits to us. However, instead of calling us at the ceremony (at the Rashtrapati Bhavan), the medal was sent through post," he said.

Also read: IAF officer, who saved lives after LCA Tejas snag mid-air, awarded Shaurya Chakra posthumously

(With inputs from PTI)

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