Late Mr. Utpal Rabha of Assam, a CoBRA Commando with the Central Reserve Police Force, was killed in an encounter with Maoists in Jharkhand in June, 2018. This Republic Day, he was posthumously awarded the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry, with his citation saying that he displayed “extraordinary valour” during the gunbattle.
Another recipient of the Medal is Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr. Abdul Jabbar, who as SSP of Anantnag had led an operation team that eliminated the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen, Burhan Wani, in July 8, 2016.
Mr. Rabha and Mr. Jabbar are among the more than 200 recipients the President’s Gallantry Medal this year. The overall list of awardees includes 108 police officers from the Jammu and Kashmir Police and 76 awardees from the CRPF, besides other state police forces and the Border Security Force.
Honoring Our Police Forces
While the armed forces of India rightly get recognition for their valour and dignity, the police forces of India that guard people on a daily basis do not get the attention they deserve.
The gallantry medals have been around to honor the bravery of our police forces. However, the long-standing call of the policemen of India to set up a memorial to honour the sacrifices of their martyred colleagues took forever to come up. The project was originally conceived during the NDA-1 tenure by then Home Minister of India L.K. Advani. However, it was halted as Delhi’s Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) in April 2004 objected to the height of the tower-like memorial and the fact that it will be taller than Rashtrapati Bhavan, less than a kilometer away from its location on Shanti Path, in the elite Diplomatic Enclave, and a violation of Lutyens Zone rules. Construction soon came to a halt, and eventually the original structure was demolished in 2008. However, clearance eventually came in 2018 under the Narendra Modi government, after a new design shortlisted few years back was approved and the DUAC convinced with a few modifications.
The Memorial was finally inaugurated by Mr. Modi on 21 October 2018. The date is celebrated in India as the Police Commemoration Day. The date is significant, as it remembers the martyrdom of the ten policemen belonging to the CRPF who were killed at Hot Springs in Ladakh in an ambush by Chinese troops on this date in 1959.
Backing The Police Force
Prime Minister Modi has often praised the police forces of India, acknowledging their sacrifices and their efforts to ensure law and order and internal security at all times. Recently, during a rally in Delhi, Mr. Modi had exhorted protestors to respect the police forces. “They are no one’s enemies… After Independence, 33,000 policemen have died while ensuring peace and your safety. It’s no small number,” he said.
“Whenever there’s a crisis or difficulty, the police neither asks anyone about your religion or caste, does not care about the cold or the rain and stands up to help you,” he had added.
Thanks to his government’s efforts, the bravery of our police forces today does not go unnoticed.