Risking his own life, CRPF constable rushed to the rescue of colleagues ambushed by Maoists

It took the Centre three years to honour a CRPF constable who showed exemplary courage in the April 2010 Dantewada attack by Maoists in which 77 paramilitary personnel were killed. Sampat Lal has now been posthumously awarded the ‘Police Medal for Gallantry’.

When a team of the Central Reserve Police Force was ambushed, Sampat Lal drove a bulletproof vehicle through jungles even as the attack was on. Though he managed to provide reinforcements to the CRPF squad under attack and ferry wounded personnel, Sampat Lal lost his life as his vehicle was blown up with an improvised explosive device.

The Dantewada ambush is known as the deadliest attack by Maoists on security forces. Though the CRPF brass had been advocating a gallantry award for the brave heart, it materialised only this year. “He did not care for his life despite knowing the threat in the area and his sole aim was to bring back his wounded colleagues,” reads Sampat Lal’s citation for ‘Police Medal for Gallantry’.

This year, a total of 864 personnel were awarded police medals. While ‘President’s Police Medals for Gallantry’ have been given to six personnel — four from Jammu and Kashmir (two posthumously) and one each from Maharashtra and the CRPF (posthumously) — ‘Police Medals for Gallantry’ have been given to 132 personnel, the maximum number (33) going to the CRPF, followed by Jammu and Kashmir (28) and Maharashtra (20).

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