March 17, 1977(1977-03-17) – November 28, 2008 (aged 31)
Place of birth
Place of death
Place of burial
Hebbal, Bangalore, Karnataka
Indian Army, National Security Guards
Years of service
NSG HQ, Manesar
Sandeep Unnikrishnan (March 17, 1977 – November 28, 2008) was a Major in the Indian Army serving in the elite National Security Guards (NSG) who was led his life in an encounter with terrorists in November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
"Do not come up, I will handle them." These were probably the last words which Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan told his men as he was hit by bullets while engaging terrorists inside the Taj Hotel, Mumbai during the Black Tornado operation.
During the operation, when a commando got injured Major Unnikrishnan arranged for his evacuation and started chasing the terrorists himself. The terrorists escaped to another floor of the hotel and during the chase Major Unnikrishnan was seriously injured and succumbed to his injuries.
Family He hails from a family settled in Bangalore that had migrated from Cheruvannur - Kozhikode district, Kerala He was the only son of retired ISRO officer Mr. K. Unnikrishnan and Mrs. Dhanalakshmi.
Childhood Major Unnikirshnan spent 14 years at the Frank Anthony Public School. A popular figure among his contemporaries, he wanted to join the Army, even attending school in a crew cut. He is remembered as an outstanding student. In 1995 he finished ISC Science from here. He was also a fantastic athlete. Most of his athletic records remained unbroken for many years. Tall, slim boy with the most genial personality he was the house captain and loved by all in the school. He described himself as a movie maniac in his orkut profile. Besides his display of courage from young age he had a soft side to him and was a member of the school choir.
Army Career He joined the National Defense Academy in 1994 and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant to the 7 Bihar Regiment in June 1999. After serving the Indian Army in different locations in Jammu & Kashmir to counter insurgencies, he was selected to join the National Security GuardsOn completion of training, he was assigned to the Special Action Group (SAG) of NSG on January 2007 and participated in various operation of the NSG.
Black Tornado Operation On the night of 26 Nov 2008, several iconic buildings in South Mumbai were attacked by terrorists. One of the buildings where the terrorists held people hostage was the 100 year old Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
Major Unnikrishnan was the commander of 51 SAG deployed in the operation at the Taj Mahal Hotel. He led his team from the front and engaged the terrorists in a fierce gunfight. When one of the NSG commandos was injured in the exchange of fire, he arranged for his evacuation and regardless of personal safety chased the terrorists who, meanwhile, escaped to another floor of the hotel, and while doing so Major Sandeep continuously engaged them. In the encounter that followed, he was shot from the back, seriously injured and succumbed to injuries.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Dies a Hero's Death
Being in the forefront of the National Security Guards operations at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan not only waged a valiant battle against the terrorists but also did his best to save his injured colleagues and in the bargain lost his life. He showed the real warrior in him before laying down his life. Thirty-one-year- old Major Sandeep is the only son of retired ISRO officer K. Unnikrishnan, who is settled in Bangalore.
His father told presspersons: "I lost my son in Mumbai on Friday. Though I do not like to call him a martyr, I can proudly say that he has done something for this country." He was informed of the death of his son by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (National Security Guards).
According to information reaching the family, "Major Sandeep was leading a team and during the operations two of his colleagues sustained bullet injuries. In a bid to save them Sandeep turned back. The bullets fired by the terrorists pierced him. On November 26, he had called us and said that one of his childhood friends is getting married in the city on December 17. He had planned to attend that marriage," Mr. Unnikrishnan said.
Major Sandeep was ambitious, talented and a brave soul, said his friends and neighbours. He joined the National Defence Academy and was commissioned in the Bihar 7th Regiment in 1999. He was drafted to the NSG after his gallantry was recognised," Kiran Srivasthav, a childhood friend of Major Sandeep.
According to Anirudh Uppal, Inspector-General (Headquarters) National Security Guards (NSG), Major Sandeep had exposure to counter insurgency operations after having served in Jammu and Kashmir for two terms. He was deputed to the NSG on January 20, 2007 and participated in various operations conducted by the elite force. The gallant officer of the team commander of 51 SAG was deployed to clear Hotel Taj Mahal of extremists on November 27. He led the team from the front and engaged the terrorists in a fierce gunfight. When one of the NSG commandos was injured in the exchange of fire, he arranged for his evacuation and regardless of personal safety chased the terrorists who, meanwhile, escaped to another floor of the hotel, and while doing so Major Sandeep continuously engaged them. In the encounter that followed, he was seriously injured and succumbed to injuries.
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