New Delhi: Today on March 15, on the birth anniversary of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, an able military leader who served in the Indian elite counter terrorist forces National Security Guard (NSG), NewsX salutes the unsung hero who lost his life defending his countrymen.
Major Unnikrishnan was martyred in the 2008 Mumbai attacks in a fierce gun battle with the terrorists inside the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. On November 28, 2008, several renowned buildings of Mumbai were attacked. The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of them. This hotel was taken hostage by terrorists.
Major Unnikrishnan was the team commander of 51 SAG deployed in the operation to rescue the hostages in the hotel and eliminate the terrorists. He entered the hotel with a group of 10 commandos and reached the sixth floor through the staircase. As the team went upstairs, they suspected terrorists on the third floor.
A few women were being held hostage in a room which was locked from the inside. After breaking open the door, several rounds were exchanged by the terrorists and the security forces. During this exchange of fire Commando Sunil Yadav, Unnikrishnan’s colleague was hit.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan displaying valour protected the injured fellow commando and saved his life in this process. He himself received several bullet injuries but continued to fight till his last breath and laid down his life in service of the nation and his countrymen.
He was the only son of retired ISRO officer K. Unnikrishnan and Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan. Sandeep Unnikrishnan joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) in 1995. His NDA friends remember him as “selfless”, “generous” and “calm and composed”.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was consequently awarded the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peace time gallantry award, on 26 January 2009.
The official citation for the Ashoka Chakra Award to Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan reads as follows: