It was a poignant moment as Home Minister Rajnath Singh displayed a rare gesture at the 15th BSF Investiture Ceremony in New Delhi on Thursday. Breaking the protocol, the Home Minister hugged a BSF jawan while felicitating him.
Godhraj Meena, a BSF constable, has suffered 85 per cent disability in a terrorist attack in Kashmir’s Udhampur in 2014. Meena was on guard duty when the terrorists attacked a BSF bus near Narsu Nalah area in Udhampur on 5 August 5, 2014. His acute presence of mind and accurate fire kept the two terrorists at bay and thwarted their attempts to move forward and saved the lives of 30 BSF troopers onboard the bus.
44-year-old Meena, who now can’t speak properly as one bullet had pierced through his jaw, received a thunderous applause from the officials and jawans of the border guarding force when Home Minister Rajnath Singh pinned the gallantry medal on his chest. Even before Meena could accord the mandatory salute, the Home Minister hugged and patted him. Singh saw Meena off from the dais with a firm and long hand shake.
As per protocol, the Home Minister after handing over the citation shakes hand with the awardee and the awardee moves ahead after according a salute.
“What we saw today is rare, very rare. This is only in very special cases like that of Meena. He is not able to talk and walk properly but despite this he dons his uniform with pride,” a senior BSF officer present in the event was quoted as saying.
Later while speaking at the event, the Home Minister said he was proud of Meena’s bravery and grit.
It could be noted that earlier in March the Home Minister had shared meal with Assistant Commandant Sandeep Mishra, a BSF officer who lost his eye-sight while fighting the terrorists in Assam in 2000.
A total of seven BSF troops, including Meena, were decorated with gallantry medals for their daredevil actions during ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border and handling terror attacks in Jammu & Kashmir. The others included constable Subhendu Roy, driver Daljit Singh and constable Rocky. They were awarded with ‘Shaurya Chakra’.
Wife of late BSF constable Sanjay Dhar was awarded medal for gallantry (posthumous). Dhar, who was posted at Pittal border post along India-Pakistan International Border in Jammu, laid down his life while saving his BSF colleague, who had got injured in an unprovoked firing by Pakistan on 16 July, 2014.
Five personnel of the 41st battalion of the CRPF were awarded for undertaking an anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district in 2014, where they killed two Maoists.