Special Correspondent

His first death anniversary falls on March 20.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Old Boys’ Association of Sainik School, Kazhakuttam, has taken up a project to build a memorial to Captain R. Harshan, a student of the 1997 batch, who died fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir on March 20 last year.

School Principal Col. B. Ajithkumar and general secretary of the association Jayasankar Warrier told a press conference here on Tuesday that the construction of a sports pavilion named after Captain Harshan was under way. The pavilion is expected to be ready for inauguration by July, they said.

A bust of Captain Harshan is being built in the central garden of the academic block. The school is also instituting a trophy to be awarded to the student who emerges the best basketball player.

A Special Forces officer attached to the elite ‘Red Devil’ unit of 2 Para Regiment, Captain Harshan was shot in the thigh and neck in an encounter with Harkatul Mujahideen terrorists in the Chhoti Margi area of Lolab in Jammu and Kashmir.

Despite heavy snow, Harshan led his men into action to cordon off the house in which the terrorists were hiding. The officer killed two of them before he was felled by retaliatory fire. His valour in the face of heavy odds inspired his men to eliminate the remaining terrorists.

Ashok Chakra

Captain Harshan was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest peace time gallantry award. At the Republic Day Parade held at New Delhi on January 26 this year, his father, K. Radhakrishnan Nair, received the citation and medal from President Pratibha Patil.

Col. Ajithkumar recalled that Harshan was awarded the all-round cadet trophy in 1997, the year he passed out of the school. “He displayed a high degree of courage and extraordinary leadership traits throughout his stay in the school. He will continue to be a source of inspiration and motivation for the young cadets.”

Mr. Radhakrishnan Nair, association treasurer Jayakumar and batch representative Manu B. Chandran were present at the press conference.

Col. Ajithkumar also unveiled the Captain Harshan memorial rolling trophy.