Twenty-three Delhi Police personnel have been conferred Police Medals for their service on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day, officials said on Saturday.
Out of them, six — then DCP Amit Sharma (presently posted as SP, Daman), then ACP Anuj Kumar (presently posted as SP, Diu) and Head Constable Rattan Lal (posthumously), Constables Pradeep Sharma, Mohit Kumar and Naveen — have been conferred the Police Medal for Gallantry for their unflinching courage, presence of mind and gallantry shown in a critical situation during the Northeast Delhi riots, they said.
Besides them, Joint Commissioner of Police Tusar Taba and Sub Inspector Chacko VC have been conferred the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service, while Additional Commissioners of Police Rajneesh Gupta and Rajeev Ranjan, DCP Vikram Kapali Porwal, DCP Ajay Pal Singh, DCP Sushil Kumar Singh, Additional DCP Govind are among 15 personnel who have been awarded Police Medal for Meritorious Service, according to the officials.
On February 24, 2020, violent clashes broke out between two communities near Maujpur Chowk in northeast Delhi, with crowds indulging in heavy stone pelting leading to riots.
According to the police, Amit Sharma who was then posted as Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara), was at a protest site at Chand Bagh Mazar to ensure no traffic movement was disrupted on Wazirabad Road but since there were heavy crowds, ACP Gokalpuri Anuj Kumar arrived there along with staff to assist the DCP.
When the crowd swelled to around 30,000 and spread upto Brijpuri T-point. Mr Sharma and his personnel tried to pacify them, asking them to remain at the protest site, but they started spilling over on Wazirabad Road in an aggressive manner. All of a sudden, a mob gathered around police party and started pelting stones, they said.
Recalling the incident a year later, Mr Sharma said he had taken a conscious decision to not move from the spot under any circumstances.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was meeting former US president Donald Trump in the national capital then.
“I was very clear that we will not open fire as I had women and children in front of me, even though they were later used as a shield to attack us. My operator Naveen and I stood there, we were hardly 40 policemen… and violence spiralled in narrow streets as mobs started pelting stones and attacking locals… My skull was completely fractured and Naveen was also severely injured,” Mr Sharma said.
“But when I fell unconscious, Constables Pradeep Sharma and Mohit showed exemplary courage. I still remember how they managed to rescue me from the mob and rushed me to a hospital amid violence,” he said.
Head Constable Rattan Lal who was assisting ACP Gokal Puri during the clashes was hit by a bullet fired from the crowd and died, the police said.
Rattan Lal is survived by his wife Poonam who lives with their three children in north Delhi’s Burari.
“I am extremely proud that my husband is getting a medal but we would have been happier had he got it when he was alive. No award is bigger for me than my husband. Unfortunately, he is no more but I’m glad people still remember him for his service,” she said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)