The decision of the Government to confer Ashok Chakra to the Mumbai Police officer’s namely Mr Hemant Karkare, Mr Vijay Salaskar and Mr Ashok Kamte is nothing short of ridiculous.
Anyone who paid attention to the citations read out at the time of conferring the awards would admit that. The gallant action by the rest of the Award winners stood out for acts of gallantry. Incidentally, Ashok Chakra is conferred for ” Most conspicuous act of gallantry”. Where were the acts of gallantry exhibited in the case of the above mentioned officers. Were the awards conferred on the back of a wave of sympathy because these individuals laid down their lives? Or is it because they were there at the place of action despite being senior officers? To confer them with the nations highest gallantry award is to belittle the award and also humiliating all those who were awarded the same for genuine acts of gallantry going beyond legitimate call of duty.
I have served in the Indian Army long enough, initiated citations for awards to my subordinates and have been fortunate to be awarded a gallantry award myself. So, I do know what it takes to be an awardee.
The commanding officer of a force is expected to be present at the place of action when a majority of the force you command is involved in operations. It is simply your duty. No gallantry in that. These officers were honored because they jointly injured one militant. Its surprising that three officers put together could not disable one militant enough to prevent him from driving away in their own vehicle. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry! And to top it all those who understand operations will admit that it was their stupidity which enabled the militants to escape with a vehicle which gave them mobility to drive down to Metro Cinema and marine drive as a result of which more innocent lives were lost. Please let us differentiate between being sympathetic and conferring the highest gallantry award of the nation.
Incidentally Mr Ombole deserves the award. He displayed “most conspicuous gallantry beyond call of duty” in ensuring that Kasab was caught alive.