It was one of the few operations where the security forces recovered the bodies of the Naxalites as they are largely taken away by the ultras

Three CoBRA commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force have been awarded the 'Shaurya Chakra' for displaying bravery and killing four "hardcore" Naxals in the worst Maoist violence-affected Sukma district of Chhattisgarh just before the 2019 general elections. The Shaurya Chakra is the third-highest peacetime military gallantry medal.

Deputy Commandant Chitesh Kumar, Sub Inspector Manjinder Singh and Constable Sunil Choudhary belong to the 201st battalion of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) that operates in the dense jungles and difficult terrain of south Bastar area, bordering Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where armed Maoist cadres are the most active in the country.

These medals for bravery are among the total 1,380 service medals announced by the Union government for various central and state police forces on the eve of Independence Day.

The ambush by the Naxals and the counter-attack by the security forces took place on March 26, 2019 near the 'Vate Vagun nallah' under Jagargunda police station area of Sukma, a hot bed of Maoist violence where the security forces like CRPF have seen numerous casualties.

Four Naxals, who had a reward of Rs 8 lakh each, were killed along with the recovery of a INSAS rifle (looted from security forces), some other guns and ammunition, officials said.

It was one of the few operations where the security forces recovered the bodies of the Naxalites as they are largely taken away by the ultras.

"This operation was a big blow to the core armed formation of Maoists known as the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army battalion."

"This major strike against the Maoists, just before the general Parliamentary election of 2019, helped conduct a free, fair, and incident-free elections in south Bastar of Chhattisgarh," the citation for the three read.

It added that the troops displayed "unparalleled courage, fortitude and conspicuous gallant action blended with adroit military acumen, without caring for their own lives in the gravest life-threatening situation."

They saved the lives of their troops and neutralised hardcore PLGA cadres and hence are being recommended for the 'Shaurya Chakra' in recognition of their determination, extraordinary courage and most conspicuous bravery, it said.

Apart from these military medals, the country's largest paramilitary force CRPF also won a President's police medal for gallantry (PPMG) and 150 police medal for gallantry (PMG) on the eve of Independence Day.

Out of the 151 gallantry medals, 108 are for J&K operations and 39 for action in Left Wing Extremism affected states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Head Constable Kale Sunil Dattatraya of the 182nd CRPF battalion was given the PPMG posthumously for killing two "hardcore" terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district in June last year.

Few others in this team, including Constable Gulshan Singh,were given the PMG as per an official list published by the Union Home Ministry.