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President Pratibha Patil presents gallantry awards

President Pratibha Patil presents the Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra (posthumously) at the Defence Investiture Ceremony, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on Thursday. From left are, Madhavi Rao, wife of V. Venkateswara Rao, Sunita Mehta, wife of Brigadier R.D. Mehta, mother of Captain Sunil Kumar Choudhary, Meena Bora, wife of Railways loco-pilot Nitya Nanda Bora, Sadhna Devi, wife of Sowar Yadav Arbeshankar Rajdhari and Zareena Begam, wife of Lance Havildar Aziz Mohd. (Below) UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and BJP leader L.K. Advani, who attended the ceremony.

President Pratibha Patil presents the Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra (posthumously) at the Defence Investiture Ceremony, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on Thursday. From left are, Madhavi Rao, wife of V. Venkateswara Rao, Sunita Mehta, wife of Brigadier R.D. Mehta, mother of Captain Sunil Kumar Choudhary, Meena Bora, wife of Railways loco-pilot Nitya Nanda Bora, Sadhna Devi, wife of Sowar Yadav Arbeshankar Rajdhari and Zareena Begam, wife of Lance Havildar Aziz Mohd. (Below) UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and BJP leader L.K. Advani, who attended the ceremony.   | Photo Credit: — Photos: Shanker Chakravarty

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Wednesday decorated the nation’s brave soldiers and three civilians at the Defence Investiture Ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

Ms. Patil presented 75 medals —14 Param Vishist Seva Medal, 13 Kirti Chakra, 25 Ati Vishist Seva medals and 23 Shaurya Chakras — at the ceremony attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and top brass of the armed forces.

Amid intermittent applause from the gathering, Ms. Patil presented 14 medals posthumously — nine Kirti Chakras and five Shaurya Chakras — to the close relatives of those, who laid down their lives in line of duty.

The three civilians who were honoured posthumously were diplomat V. Venkateswara Rao, who was killed in the Kabul blast last July. His wife Malati Rao received the medal and the citation while Meena Bora, widow of Railways loco-pilot Nitya Nanda Bora received the honour. Mr. Bora lost his life during May 2008 in Assam in a militant attack.

Delhi Transport Corporation bus conductor Pritam Lal, who lost his life struggling with an armed robber on an inter-State route in February last year was awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously. His widow Anita Sachdeva was handed over the medal and the citation by Ms. Patil.

Three police personnel, who lost their lives in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, were also honoured. Constable Arun Chitte’s wife Manisha, Constable Ambadas Powar’s wife Kalpana and Home Guard Mukesh Jadhav’s father Bhikaji Jadhav received the medals.

Ms. Patil also presented the gallantry awards to two Kirti Chakras (Constable Ajay Singh) and Constable Roop Singh) and a Shaurya Chakra (Constable Dev Kumar) to personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force personnel who were killed in action. Constable Ajay Singh sacrificed his life in the Indian Embassy attack in Kabul. Constable Dev Kumar was also killed in Kabul, while doing duty for the Border Roads Organisation.

Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta of the Intelligence Corps who was posted as a Defence Attache at Kabul, who among those killed in the attack on the Indian Embassy, was honoured with the Kirti Chakra.

Corrections and Clarifications

In a report "President Pratibha Patil presents gallantry awards" (March 20,2009), the caption of the accompanying photograph said ". From left are,Madhavi Rao, wife of V. Venkateswara Rao [Kirti Chakra] .." Her name isMalati Rao, as given in the text.

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