The saga of Sena Medal-winning army hero

Chittiappa (right) shows his medals to VeKare head Subramani. He was awarded Sena medal in 1999 for the Jammu operation

City-based VeKare Ex-Servicemen’s Trust to fight for his cause

Caption: Ex-Hav Chittiappa Mechanda Ganapathy (right) showing his medals to Mandetira N. Subramani, President of VeKare Ex-Servicemen’s Trust, at the latter’s office in city.

Mysuru, Apr.2- If we go by the idiom ‘Seeing is Believing,’ here is a perfect example of an ordinary ex-serviceman from Balele, Kodagu, decorated with a Sena Medal but could not get any facilities or benefits from the Government of Karnataka in recognition of his gallantry.

Meet Ex-Hav Chittiappa Mechanda Ganapathy, SM, the army hero, who shot dead three terrorists and was honoured for his gallantry with a Sena Medal for taking on terrorists without caring for his life and safety in Operation Strike in Jammu. He has now been reduced to eking out a living as an armed security guard at State Bank of India, Pandavapura, Mandya district.

Though he was honoured with the Sena Medal (Gallantry) on January 26, 1999, 16 years on, Ex-Hav Chittiappa is still waiting for his Citation, which is given by a Senior General Officer in a gallantry medal award ceremony on behalf of the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, that is the President of India, at the time of pinning or presenting the Gallantry Medal.

Citation is an important document as it describes the patriotic and exemplary achievement of army personnel and qualifies the ex-serviceman for post-retirement benefits he is entitled to.

Mandetira N. Subramani, President of city-based VeKare Ex-Servicemen’s Trust that has been working for the welfare of ex-servicemen for the last 25 years, has now moved the army and the State government to look into Chittiappa’s sad tale.

The Trust, in its letter dated March 31, 2015, has also sought the Department of State Sainik Welfare and Resettlement to intervene.

When asked, Chittiappa said, “I was told that the citation would be sent to the unit. I was in 25 Rashtriya Rifles Jammu. It didn’t come there or to my unit in Madras. Recently, in a conference of ex-servicemen, I learnt about VeKare Trust and approached Subramani for help.”

Here below we reproduce the draft of the recommendation to Sena Medal (unsigned on a white sheet of paper):

SEP CHITTIAPPA MG, SM

No. 2598447A SEP Chittiappa Mechanda Ganapathy was enrolled in 5 Madras Regiment on 26th December 1994 and posted to 25 Rashtriya Rifles in April 1997.

On 17th April 1998, he was the leading scout in “Operation Strike” conducted at Guldandahar Forest in Doda district. On 18th April at 5:30 hours, he spotted a group of militants hiding in a Lonegwari at a height of 11,500 feet. On spotting the column approaching, a militant resorted to indiscriminate firing. Sensing the gravity of the situation, Sepoy Chittiappa with utter disregard to his personal safety, tactically closed in and occupied firing position, making the cordon impregnable, thus preventing the escape of militants. On seeing the fleeing militant, Sepoy Chittiappa chased and engaged him effectively. A fierce fire-fight took place undeterred and unmindful of the heavy volume of fire. He crawled forward, closed and killed one militant by surprise. Sepoy Chittiappa displayed exceptional bravery, courage and devotion to duty of the highest order.

For this act of conspicuous gallantry and daring action which resulted in the killing of a dreaded militant, I strongly recommend No. 2598447A Sepoy Chittiappa Mechanda Ganapathy for the award of “Sena Medal.”

With Chittiappa approaching the Trust, M.N. Subramani, who is also a retired Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) of the Indian Air Force and an advocate himself, has taken up this army hero’s case.

Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, Subramani said, “The Cash-in-lieu of land (Rs.1,00,000) which is granted to those valiant combatant armed forces personnel from Karnataka who are decorated with Gallantry Awards by the Government of Karnataka is insignificant when compared to the grant given by the State Governments such as Punjab and Haryana.”

He said that he would appeal to the Government of Karnataka through the Trust to increase the ‘Cash-in-lieu of Land’ on par with the amount granted by Punjab and Haryana States.

News Courtesy: Star of Mysore

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