Martyr's Diaries: Ashoka Chakra Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan


Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was born on  15 March 1977 in Kozhikode, Kerala. Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan came from a Nair family residing in Bangalore, where they had moved from Cheruvannur, in Kozhikode District of Kerala. He was the only son of retired ISRO officer K. Unnikrishnan and Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan. Maj Unnikrishnan spent 14 years at the Frank Anthony Public School in Bangalore before graduating in 1995 in the Science stream. He wanted to join the Army, right from his school days and did well in school activities and sports events.

Major Unnikrishnan joined the National Defence Academy (NDA), Pune, Maharashtra in 1995. He was a part of the Oscar Squadron and a graduate of the 94th Course of NDA. His NDA friends remember him as "selfless", "generous" and "calm and composed".

He was commissioned as a lieutenant to the 7th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment (Infantry) on 12 July 1999. After serving the Indian Army in different locations in Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan during counter insurgencies for two terms, he was selected to join the National Security Guards. On completion of training, he was assigned to the Special Action Group (SAG) of NSG on January 2007 and participated in various operations of the NSG. During the 'Ghatak course' (at the Commando Wing (Infantry School), Belgaum), the most difficult course of the Army, Unnikrishnan topped the course, earning an "Instructor Grading" and commendation. He opted for the NSG commando service which he joined on deputation in 2006.




OPERATION BLACK TORNADO- 26/11  

On the night of 26 November 2008, several iconic buildings in South Mumbai were attacked. One of the buildings where hostage were held was the 100-year-old Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

When the Mumbai attacks happened, Sandeep was the team leader of the SAG deployed at the Taj Palace Hotel. Their mission was to rescue hostages trapped inside.

Sandeep entered the building along with 10 commandos and started rescuing hostages trapped/hiding in various rooms. The terrorists were shooting from the upper floors of the hotel, and Sandeep and Co. fired back, forcing the terrorists to retreat. 

During the operation, one of his team members, Sunil Yadav, took a bullet and fell. He would've been shot dead within seconds if it wasn't for Sandeep's bravery. Sandeep rushed in to save Sunil and dragged him out. He took a couple of hits himself but that did not stop him. 

He continued firing and charging at the terrorists as if nothing had happened.

Unni finally managed to rescue all the 14 hostages trapped inside that wing of the hotel but the terrorists were escaping. Not worrying about his own safety, he charged upstairs after them. He managed to shoot down a couple more terrorists before he was shot from the back.

One of the terrorists hid behind a statue and shot Unnikrishnan from behind. He continued firing even as he fell, until he stopped breathing. His death did not go in vain as very soon, the SAG managed to eliminate all the terrorists hiding in the hotel. 

For his bravery, Unnikrishnan was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra in 2009. His funeral was held with full military honours. 

If my team is working, There is nowhere i am going till it is parked.


The Palm Lounge where Major Sandeep fought with the terrorists

LEGACY

The Mother Dairy Double Road in Bangalore, a 4.5 km road from Federal Mogul on Doddaballapur Road to MS Palya junction, was renamed Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Road in his honour. The Ramamurthy Nagar-Outer Ring Road Junction in Bengaluru, here a bust of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan is installed and the junction is named in his honour.

CITATION

IC-58660
 MAJOR SANDEEP UNNIKRISHNAN
 BIHAR REGIMENT/51 SPECIAL ACTION GROUP (POSTHUMOUS)

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan led the commando operation launched on 27th November 2008 to flush out terrorists from Hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai in which he rescued 14 hostages.
During the operation, his team came under intense hostile fire, in which one of his team members got grievously injured. Major Sandeep pinned down the terrorists with accurate fire and rescued the injured commando to safety. In the process, he was shot in his right arm. Despite his injuries, he continued to fight the terrorists till his last breath.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan displayed most conspicuous bravery besides camaraderie and leadership of the highest order and made the supreme sacrifice for the nation

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.

Sir, May your soul REST IN POWER.  

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