Mumbai martyr’s family wants top honour for him

January 24th, 2009 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Jan 24 (IANS) The family of Shashank Shinde, one of the policemen killed in the Mumbai terror attacks, wants him to be honoured with a posthumous Ashok Chakra - India’s highest gallantry award in peace times.”Nothing short of this will do justice to his sacrifice. He was the first of the police personnel to successfully thwart a potentially disastrous hostage crisis at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on the night of Nov 26, 2008,” his eldest daughter Aditi told IANS here Saturday.

Police inspector Shinde, 46, belonged to the Government Railway Police (GRP) cadre of the Mumbai Police. Three years ago, he was transferred from Mumbai Police to the GRP on a promotion, Aditi said.

She pointed out that her father was the first to retaliate when the two terrorists - Mohammed Ajmal Amir alias Kasab and his associate Abu Ismail - launched grenade attacks in CST and started indiscriminate firing from AK-47 rifles.

“We strongly feel that his act of bravery is fit for an Ashok Chakra, and his actions satisfy all the conditions for the honour. In fact, it was he who first attempted to successfully foil their attempts to take hostage of thousands of commuters in CST,” Shinde’s widow Manasi added.

Manasi, who works with the Life Insurance Corporation, and her two daughters, Aditi, 19, and Nivedita, 14, said the Ashok Chakra would be a right tribute to his unparalleled act of valour and inspire others.

Aditi added that even Kasab, the lone terrorist captured out of the 10 attackers, said in his statement to police that he and Ismail were forced to leave CST owing to the retaliatory firing from Shinde. The policeman later succumbed to the bullet injuries inflicted by the two terrorists.

Manasi and Aditi said that till two days ago they had been reading reports and hearing from police officials that Shinde would be conferred the Ashok Chakra posthumously, but now they learn he has not been recommended for the honour.

“Even (Maharashtra) Governor S.C. Jamir and Chief Minister Ashok Chavan are answerable on this issue and they should come out with a statement,” Manasi said.

Aditi is a second-year student of computer engineering at the Terna Engineering College in Nerul, near Navi Mumbai, while Nivedita will appear for her SSC examinations next month. The family has been living in Wadala, central Mumbai, for the past six years.

The family said they had kept quiet on the issue since they felt that the government was bound to accord the honour due to Shinde. They chose to speak to the media only when doubts were raised about this not happening, Aditi said.

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