Should all the 26/11 heroes be given Ashoka Chakra?
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) the question came up before the Division Bench comprising Justice P B Majumdar and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka of the Bombay High Court whether all the 26/11 heroes should be honoured with awards. The HC observed that all those who had laid their lives fighting the terrorists during the 26/11 attacks should be given ‘posthumous respect’ and asked the state about the steps it has taken to honour them. J Majumdar observed that irrespective of seniority, all the officers should be honoured and no one should be ignored merely because of his rank.
It was argued by the petitioner that though 20 policemen lost their lives in the 26/11 attack, only three were given Ashoka Chakra posthumously. Quoting information obtained through application filed under the RTI Act, he claimed that the three officers Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salskar did not enter the Cama Hospital and were killed in ambush. The petitioner demanded similar honour for the other policemen killed in action.
Padma awards have been under intense public scrutiny in the past. While everyone would agree that giving awards across the board is neither desirable nor the appropriate mode of honouring the dead, a transparent system of giving awards would help in mitigating complaints and heartburns.