An officer of the Assam Police has been conferred with the Kirti Chakra post humously for displaying indomitable courage and exemplary leadership in fighting ULFA militants, Home Ministryofficial said.
Inspector Lohit Sonowal laid down his life in Tinsukia district of Assam on April 19, 2013 in an encounter with ULFA militants in which two extremists were also killed.
The police officer displayed indomitable courage, exemplary leadership dedication to duty and laid down his life for which he was conferred with the Kirti Chakraposthumously, a home ministry official said.
On the fateful day, upon receiving the information that a group of suspected ULFAcadres were taking shelter in the general area of Kordoiguri village of Tinsukiadistrict, a joint operation was launched by the police and the CRPF.
During the search operation, one police team led by Sonowal noticed some unusual movements in a house and they cordoned the nearby area and waited for the first light.
As the operation party approached the suspected house, a woman with two children came out of the house and on seeing police presence, she immediately warned the extremists taking shelter inside the house, the official said.
Immediately, the armed extremists came out of the house and started firing indiscriminately aiming at the police party.
Though the police inspector was under direct line of firing, disregarding his personal safety, he single handedly first managed to rescue the woman along with two children, who were caught in between the gunfire and quickly ducked himself behind the nearby trees for taking cover and retaliated the fire.
The extremists continued firing aiming towards Sonowal and tried to escape by taking cover of the tea bushes nearby and civilians.
During the exchange of fire, one hardcore ULFA militant was killed.
Another extremist re-entered into the house and others fled taking advantage of thick tea bushes.
The ULFA militant who re-entered the house opened indiscriminate fire and lobbed grenades towards Sonowal.
During the cross fire, Sonowal sustained bullet injuries, but eliminated two extremists in direct exchange of fire. However, Sonowal succumbed to his injuries later, another official said.
The Kirti Chakra is the country’s military award for valour, courage action and self-sacrifice. It is second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards after the Ashoka Chakra.