Bengaluru: As another Republic Day approaches many deserving policemen, who have risked their lives in the discharge of their duties, continue to wait for recognition that has evaded them for years.
Take former Additional Superintendent of Police, Davangere, Ravinarayan , who is still waiting for a gallantry award from the Centre for his role in the killing of three Naxals in a two-hour long exchange of fire by the Anti-Naxal Force of Karkala in Mavina Hola near Kalasa, Chikkamagaluru on November 18, 2008.
His fellow officer, Guruprasad lost his life in the encounter. Red tapism and undue delays have come in the way of the award the officer should have received long before his retirement in June 2014.
“Amrit Pal who was Commander ANF, Karkala sent a report to the DGP on November 20, 2008 to recognize my gallant act and the sacrifice of my fellow officer, Guruprasad. A magisterial inquiry was ordered and I was assured that Guruprasad and I would be recommended for gallantry medals,” recalls the officer.
But to his dismay, the ADGP, administration, delayed sending the recommendation to the Centre saying there were two reports of the same incident, one from the KSRP and another from the ANF as Guruprasad was an officer with the former outfit. The proposal was stalled for four long years as the authorities claimed to grapple with the two reports.
Then in 2014, when then ADGP (L and O) M.N. Reddy visited Davanagere, where he was an additional SP, Mr Ravinarayan raised the matter with him and he immediately wrote to the then DG-IGP, Lalrokhuma Pachau recommending him for the gallantry award. The proposal was then sent to the Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department in Karnataka.
“But the Union Ministry of Home Affairs informed the ACS office that relevant records had not been attached with the recommendation. This could have been easily set right by the DG’s office or the Additional CS, but they did not,” he notes bitterly, adding, “On October 20, this year, I was conferred with a distinguished award for my service, but I do not know what happened to my gallantry award.”
Recalling the encounter that ended with the killing of the Naxals, he says the combing operation began in the forests at around 9pm. “ We had reached the peak of the hill at around 1 am when our team member spotted four torchlights going up its side. We thought they were hunters or pilgrims going to Dharmasthala. As they came towards us and were at a distance of around 20 ft, I challenged them saying "Hands Up", but to our shock they started firing and one of the bullets struck my colleague, Guruprasad, who was by my side. We returned fire and this went on for almost two hours. Since it was amavasa, it was totally dark and visibility was zero. We heard a woman's voice and thought she was injured. My colleague, who received a bullet injury on his head, died on the spot in front of me,” he recounts.
But unfortunately, the promises have amounted to nothing for these officers, who are still waiting for the pat on the back that could do wonders for their morale and that of other police officers like them, who are accustomed to living dangerously....