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HC seeks Centre’s reply on PIL seeking awards for 26/11 heroes

26/11 anniversary

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked the Centre to file within a month its response to a petition demanding Ashok Chakra as well as gallantry awards for officers belonging to various agencies who had fought terrorists during the 26/11 terror attack in the city.

The direction was given by a bench headed by Justice P V Hardas on a public interest litigation filed by social activist Ketan Tirodkar.

The Centre had earlier informed that it had rejected a proposal sent by Maharashtra government to confer Ashok Chakra and gallantry awards on fire brigade personnel who had risked their lives in fire-fighting operations during the attack.

The state government had recommended the name of police inspector Steven Mathews Anthony, besides 18 others of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) for the police medal for gallantry. However, the Centre did not consider the names.

However, no reason was given by the union government for rejecting the names of these officers.

The HC had asked the petitioner to amend the PIL by challenging the rejection of these names by the Centre. Accordingly, the petition was amended and a copy handed over to the Centre today.

On the last occasion, the HC had admitted the petition saying the matter pertained to policy decision of the union government and hence, needed to be argued thoroughly.

Tirodkar had filed a rejoinder saying that even some of the officers injured during 26/11 attacks who figured in the list of the state for gallantry awards were not considered by the Centre for the honour.

He cited the case of a police driver, who received three bullets while fighting terrorists at Leopold Cafe, a place frequented by foreign tourists.

The petitioner said that though Additional Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil did not figure in the state’s list, he was given a gallantry award by the Centre for his role in fighting terrorists during the 26/11 terror attacks.

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