New Delhi, October 14: An Assistant Commandant of the Odisha Police's Special Operations Group (SOG) has been conferred with the Ashok Chakra posthumously for sacrificing his life while fighting the Naxals, home ministry officials said Sunday.
Assistant Commandant Pramod Kumar Satpathy laid down his life on February 16, 2008, during a fire-fight between the security forces and the Maoists in the Gosama jungle of Ganjam district and adjoining areas of Phulbani district.
Keeping in view his heroism and bravery, Satpathy was awarded with the gallantry medal Ashok Chakra posthumously, a Home Ministry official said.
On February 15, 2008, at about 10.30 PM, more than 500 heavily armed Naxals carried out simultaneous and multi-pronged attacks on the police training school (PTS) armouries located in Nayagarh police station, two other police stations and one outpost of Nayagarh and one police station and one outpost in Ganjam, the officials said. Cyclone Titli in Odisha: Affected Families of Ganjam, Gajapati & Gunupur to Be Given Relief for 15 Days, Says Naveen Patnaik.
Naxalite cadres, many of them from Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Jharkhand, participated in the operation in which more than 1,200 weapons of various categories, including sophisticated ones, were looted and 14 police personnel and one civilian lost their lives, the official said.
After carrying out the operations, the militants retreated to the outlying jungle area of Ganjam and Phulbani districts in hijacked buses and other vehicles along with their arms and ammunition.
Immediately after, Satpathy and other SOG members rushed to Nayagarh on motorcycles. Assistant Commandant Satpathy quickly made a plan and with available forces, including the SOG, the Orissa Special Armed Police, the CRPF surrounded the area where the Naxals were hiding.
Subsequently, the team led by Satpathy mounted an assault. However, the naxalites took advantage of their numerical strength and unleashed heavy fire, another official said.
In the encounter, the SOG team had to retreat and in the ensuing operation Satpathy lost his life. The Ashok Chakra is the country's military award for valour, courage action and self-sacrifice. It is first in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.