Tribute to National Defence Academy alumnus Unnikrishnan
The overwhelming gratitude that the nation owes to Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the NSG Comando who lost his life in the Mumbai operation, came pouring out on websites on Saturday. While many Puneites joined the community titled ` We Salute you Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan', the brave and gallant officer had another deep connection with the city-he was an alumnus of the NationalDefenceAcademy.
Speaking about his days at the National Defence Academy Maj. Pratap Singh PRO, NDA, said, "Sandeep was a member of the Oscar Squadron and a pass out of the 94 th Course. He was a member of the social science stream."
While none of his lecturers at the NDA were available for commments regarding his days at the institution, amongst the many quotes that have been found on the various blogs there is a glowing one is from his principal C Browne, who taught him Math and Physics in Class 10 . Writing on the community site Browne said, "Maj. Unnikrishnan was an outstanding student. He finished studies here way back in 1995. Besides this, he was also a fantastic athlete. He was a genuine all rounder. In fact most of his records had remained unbroken for a long, long time. He was the house captain and loved by all. Ever since he was a boy, he wanted to join the Army. He even wore his hair like the commandos in the army did."
Along with rich tributes and heartfelt thanks, there is also the anger felt by his friends and admirers all over the country against the slackness of the way the country is run by powers that be.While one wall post said, `` I go down on my knees before you Maj.Sunil for giving up your life so that me .my family ,my country can live on," another vocifered, `` I feel sorry for the braveheart who sacrificed his life .I feel it was not worth it coz our politicians are real cowards and incapable of giving the real honour to such brave soldiers .All they can do is provide money to the family of deceased -- as if money can buy everything." Also on the site was a call to light a candle in tribute to the memory of the courageous soldier. Yet another said, ``May God give Sandeep' s parents the courage to face the rest of their lives without their brave heart son. I must warn them that this nation has a very poor track record in remembering its heroes."
Unnikrishnan lost his life battling terrorists at the Taj hotel on november 28. He was the only son of an ISRO official K.Unnikrishnan, and was commissioned into the Bihar regiment in the year 1999 and was deputed to the NSG in 2007.
Earlier he had also been a part of various insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Whilst leading an assualt on the terrorists he arranged for the safety of his own men and then charged behind the terrorists before being shot by them..
Bangalore bids tearful adieu to Major Sandeep
Bangalore : "He was one of the finest men I have met. I guess God requires the finest, that's why we had to lose him," NSG commando Sarvesh Sharma said, choking with tears, as he waited to collect the last remains of his best friend and officer Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan (31) at the Hebbal crematorium in Bangalore on Saturday evening.
Sharma was part of an NSG team that came to Bangalore with the body of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. When Sandeep's body was brought to his residence and taken to the crematorium, hundreds of people, including school children, gathered to catch a glimpse of the soldier on his last journey.
At his home, while his mother Dhanalakshmi clung on to her son's body, dignitaries like the Karnataka Chief Minister, former ISRO chairman K. Kasturirangan and the state police paid their last respects. Posters declaring Major Unnikrishnan a martyr adorned the highway.
With activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a pro-Kannada group, hijacking the crematorium with slogan shouting against Pakistan and cheers for the martyr, much of the somberness that Sandeep's friends and family had wished for was lost. Colonel C.E. Fernandes, Commanding Officer of the seventh Bihar Regiment from where Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was deployed, was among those who could not witness the cremation as the KRV activists thronged the crematorium. He described Sandeep's distinguishing quality as his honesty. "He always worked in the framework of the rules," he said. However, he expressed anguish at the hijacking of the funeral. "Instead of shouting slogans, we would be glad if more people like Sandeep led from the front," he said.
While Sandeep's NSG colleagues who came with his body said they did not know how exactly the officer was killed, the DIG of NSG L Mohanty said Sandeep was leading a taskforce at the Taj Mahal Hotel to free the civilian hostages. He was killed when he took a bullet while trying to save an injured colleague, the DIG said.
"Sandeep qualified to be a part of the NSG because he was mentally and physically fit for the job. His two-year term was due to end around January," said Col Srikumar, a recently retired Bihar Regiment officer and among Sandeep's first bosses.
A music teacher from Sandeep's school, V Narayanswamy, described him as a "a pleasant boy who always had a crew cut even in school".
A young 19-year-old cousin of the deceased officer, Mrinal, who had arrived from Kozhikode in Kerala, said Sandeep was an idol and a father figure to him. "When he came to Kozhikode he would behave like all of us kidsplaying pranks on elders or playing games with us," he said.
NSG colleague and friend Sarvesh Sharma said, "He was looking forward to a new house which the Army was allotting to him. He was also looking forward to the NSG's Raising Day and was keen on buying a suit for the occasion. He said he did not have enough money and would wait till December 1, when his salary would come. December 1 will never come for him now."