Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh

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The Times of India, Aug 15 2015

Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Aug 15 2015

Sandeep Rai

He came back wrapped in Tiranga, just as he predicted

I might come back wrapped in a Tiranga this time.“ The prophetic words echo in the ears of Parmeshwari Devi, the 32-year-old wife of Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh, who was felled by terrorist bullets at Kupwara on August 24, 2014. After an intelligence tip off, Brigade Ghataks (shock troops that spearhead an assault) of 57 Rashtriya Rifles had launched a search and destroy operation in Kupwara.The party noticed movement of a few terrorists close to the Dhok area, and came under fire.

In the ensuing fire fight, Neeraj's buddy took a hit on his bulletproof jacket. Disregarding his own safety , Neeraj crawled and extricated his buddy to safety . Just then, a terror ist targeted Neeraj, throwing grenades and firing at him. Ignoring the bullets, the soldier inched closer to the terrorist and shot him dead.

Meanwhile, another terrorist shot at the NCO, inflicting grievous injuries, forcing him to drop his rifle. Neeraj pounced on the terrorist, snatched his weapon and killed him in hand-to-hand combat.He refused to be evacuated till he lost consciousness. He later died at the Base Hospital. He was posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra, the highest peace time military decoration on Republic Day .

A resident of Devrala village in Bulandshahr, Neeraj came from a family of farmers and was one of four sons of Omvir Singh and Rajas Devi.

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