Shaurya Chakra For Capt Ashutosh Kumar; Alma Mater Sainik School-Bhubaneswar Shares Some Fond Memories
Bhubaneswar: Captain Ashutosh Kumar, an ex-student of Sainik School, Bhubaneswar, will be awarded Shaurya Chakra, the third highest peacetime gallantry award, posthumously on Independence Day. He was martyred during a counter-terror operation in Jammu and Kashmir on November 8, 2020.
According to the award citation, Capt Kumar from 18 Madras Regiment was recommended for the Shaurya Chakra posthumously for “displaying indomitable courage and professional acumen of the highest order in saving his fellow soldier’s life and eliminating hardcore terrorist with utter disregard to his own safety”.
He was performing duties of the Ghatak Platoon Commander close to the Line of Control (LoC). On receipt of information of likely escape of terrorists, he proceeded to establish stops along the likely routes of escape and spotted the terrorists, the citation said.
“Sensing grave danger to own troops and seeing the terrorist escape, the officer with utter disregard for his safety and displaying grit of steel while being completely exposed to terrorist fire, took an aimed shot and brought down the terrorist at a very close range. In the ensuing gunfire, he sustained a gunshot wound and died on the spot.”
He laid down his life in the line of duty at the age of 24.
“The teachers’ dairies of his Alma mater, Sainik School, denotes that he was a brilliant cadet and the school topper of his batch. He was very popular and excelled in science, mathematics, quiz, poetry and painting,” said Sidheswar Nayak, a teacher.
His classmate Subhajit Dhar, who works as an Agri-Scientist, said “He was a shy and sober guy. He joined the school in 2007 and lived with us in Yamuna House. I feel lucky to have spent some amazing time with him in Class VII and VIII when we both shared the same dormitory in Narmada House. He loved gardening and would water the plants of Narmada House. He liked to paint, solve Sudoku and play hockey. Poetry was something he enjoyed. He was also a good orator.”
He then cleared SSB from Allahabad and joined 132 courses of NDA. “After school, I met him once as the train, in which he was travelling halted during his term break in NDA, at Balasore railway station. That interaction, which lasted not more than 5 minutes, remains one of the most cherished moments of my life,” he said.
Later, they stayed in touch through emails and conference calls with all their friends.
“I wish I could have met him once again, spent a night with him reminiscing the good old school days. I wish I could have bid adieu to my friend one last time,” said a teary-eyed Subhajit.
Another classmate, Anurag Anand, a research scholar of psychology, said Ashutosh was an exemplary cadet of SSB. “His journey from an unknown village of Bihar to NDA was exemplary and his sudden demise a great loss to the entire SSB fraternity,” he said.
Vishal Vaibah, a junior of his from the school, said, “He could have easily cracked NEET or JEE but was keen to join the Armed Forces. After his training at IMA, he was commissioned into 18 Madras Regiment, which is known for its dauntless soldiers and numerous battle exploits.”
In his honour, the authorities have named one of the entry points to the school and SSB Trg zone as Ashutosh-Dwar. His name has been engraved on the stone slabs of the ‘Martyrs Memorial’ of Sainik School, informed Nayak.
His classmates are planning to install a statue of his at school and the NDA Motivational Cell to be named after him on his first death anniversary, he added.
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