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A first: Woman Army officer to get gallantry medal
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 19
On February 25, only a day ahead of India observing the first anniversary of the attack on its officials at a guest house in Kabul, a woman officer of the Army would be creating history. Major Mitali Madhumita will become the first woman officer to get decorated with a gallantry medal and that too for her act of bravery during the same attack in Kabul.

Major Madhumita will be receiving the Sena Medal for gallantry at the annual investiture ceremony to be conducted at Hisar. Lt Gen SK Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Command, Jaipur, will be presenting the award.

It was on February 26 last year that Major Madhumita, an Army Education Corps officer, displayed exemplary courage while rescuing injured officers as Taliban-backed militants attacked the Noor Guest House in Kabul. The attack venue was host to (Indian) personnel working at the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Nineteen persons, including seven Indians, had lost their lives then.

Being from the education corps, the woman officer’s primary job was to teach at facilities in Kabul -- women are not allowed in combat arms of the Army. On the day of the attack, Major Madhumita was the first officer to reach the guest house when suicide bombers attacked it. She was staying at a nearby guest house. Though unarmed, she ran close to 2 km to reach the spot and rescued her colleagues who were trapped under the debris.

Two Indian Army officers died on the spot even as Major Madhumita managed to rescue a few others of the Army training team who were buried beneath the rubble and rushed them to hospital. The award to her was announced on Independence Day last year.

Gen SK Singh himself has been awarded the Uttam Yudh Seva Medal for leading rescue and relief operations post-Leh cloudburst in August last. Then, he was the Corps Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps. At the investiture ceremony, three Yudh Seva Medals, nine Sena Medals (gallantry), including one posthumous, two Sena Medals (distinguished), eight Vishisht Seva Medals and eight Unit Appreciations will be awarded. The lone posthumous Sena Medal for gallantry goes to Sepoy Jagtar Singh of the Punjab Regiment. The soldier died in an anti-terrorist operation at Kupwara (Jammu and Kashmir). His wife Ranjit Kaur, who stays at Saupur village in Ropar district, will be present at the awards ceremony.





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