26/11 will always be remembered for the courage displayed by our security forces in overcoming the siege at the Taj Mahal hotel, Oberoi and Chabad House in Mumbai.
For the elite National Security Guard, which was called in to defeat the terrorists, fighting a battle in unfamiliar terrain came with a heavy price attached: The loss of two commandos, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan at the Taj and Havildar Gajender Singh Bisht at Chabad House.
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.
A NSG commando with the 51 Special Action Group, he led the commando operation (Operation Black Tornado) launched on 27 November to flush out terrorists from the Taj Mahal hotel. As Unnikrishnan's 10-man team made their way through the hotel, they encountered a set of terrorists holding hostages who opened fire and struck Unnikrishnan's partner Commando Sunil Yadav. After arranging for Yadav's evacuation, Unnikrishnan chased the terrorists himself as they escaped to another floor of the hotel. In the encounter that followed, he was shot in the back, seriously injured and succumbed to injuries. His comrades recall his final words to them being "Do not come up, I will handle them." In the operation, Major Unnikrishnan is said to have rescued at least 14 hostages held captive by the terrorists.
Let us homage to Major Unnikrishnan (15 March 1977 – 28 November 2008) with our work.
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