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Monday, March 13, 2023

Highest Peacetime Gallantry Award Given To Havildar Hangpan Dada (Posth.)


Amidst the heavy unrest in the Kashmir valley, a soldier who sacrificed his life in North Kashmir on May 26, was awarded the Ashok Chakra posthumously. It was sheer grit and determination displayed by Havildar Hangpan Dada that won him the highest peacetime gallantry award in India this Independence day.

Havildar Hangpan Dada belonged to the Assam Regiment when he was serving in the valley. He killed four intruding terrorists before laying down his life at a height of 13,000 feet in the harsh Himalayan terrain of Naugam in Jammu & Kashmir.

He enrolled in the Assam Regiment of the Army in 1997 and served with the regiment at Barrackpore, Kargil, Lucknow and Multuk (Manipur). He was now posted with the 35 Rashtriya Rifles, a force carved out for counter-insurgency operations in J&K.

In the last week of May, he along with his team spotted the movement of terrorists in the area and lost no time in engaging them in a fierce encounter that went on for over 24 hours. Taking the enemy head-on, Dada killed two of them on the spot and the third one after a hand-to-hand scuffle as they slid down the hill towards the LoC. A fourth terrorist was also killed by him.

Dada was badly injured in the encounter as the terrorists who crossed over from PoK had a slight height advantage. He displayed raw courage, unflinching grit, presence of mind and with utter disregard to his personal safety and despite bleeding profusely, discharged his duties and made supreme sacrifice for the nation, saving the lives of his team members who came under heavy fire from the terrorists.

Dada was 36 years old and hailed from Boduria village of Arunachal Pradesh. He was survived by his wife Chasen Lowang, 10-year-old daughter Roukhin and 6-year-old son Senwang.

President Pranab Mukherjee approved 82 gallantry awards for armed forces personnel and members of the paramilitary forces on 15 Aug 16. These included one Ashok Chakra, 14 Shaurya Chakras, 63 Sena Medals (Gallantry), 2 Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) and 2 Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry).

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