The Bombay High Court told a petitioner that he should specifically challenge the union government’s refusal to give gallantry awards to the policemen and members of the bomb disposal squad who played an important role during the 26/11 terror attacks in the city.
The division bench of Justices P V Hardas and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar seeking Ashok Chakra and other gallantry awards for Mumbai policemen.
The state government’s proposal in this regard was rejected by the Centre in 2013.
The High Court today asked Tirodkar to amend his petition and specifically challenge rejection of the proposal. The hearing was adjourned for two weeks.
The state had recommended police inspector Steven Mathews Anthony for the police medal for gallantry, along with 18 others of the Bomb Disposal Squad for their role during the three-day attacks.
G C Yadav, under-secretary in the Union Home Ministry, informed the state in a letter dated November 12, 2013, that these officers could not be considered. The letter did not give reasons.
Tirodkar’s petition points out that only Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar and Tukaram Ombale (all of whom were killed in the attacks) were given the Ashok Chakra. “Several other officers such as Sadanand Date, Vijay Khandekar and Arun Jadhav also showed bravery during the attacks. They did not lose their lives but fought with terrorists,” the petition states.
Karkare, Kamte and Salaskar died in an ambush without actually fighting, it points out.