By Satyam Singh
Aristotle once said, “A promise made must be a promise kept”. Here he referred to a common man who should be virtuous enough to abide his commitments and promises. But, unfortunately the fraction of peoples matching up with their words and with what they committed are on continuous decline. But as Stephen Richards writes, “Promises are as strong as the person who gives them”. So it’s quite evident that strong men with full determination and courage are the few.
Let us take a look at the background of one of the courageous and honest person who fulfilled what he said once. Here I am referring to India’s one of the youngest and one of the finest Paramilitary personnel who made one such promise to his dad while the latter was donning the Olive Green uniform of Indian Army one fine day.
As a child used to say “I will start from where you’ll end, dad”. Some years down the line that lad completed his schooling and went to one of the famous university of North India which is known for its merry and joyful environment. Yeah, you got that right; I jst described Punjab University.
The Punjabi teenager chose to study Bachelors of Technology or Engineering in layman term. When someone asked him the reason for pursuing this particular course he responded that the course will give him more opportunities to get into the forces. Frankly speaking one can find many young men, including the writer himself, giving such reason to pursue the Bachelors in technical background. As it gives them more chances to present themselves in front of the Service Selection Board and to get themselves recommended for joining the forces. It also gives an opportunity to join any of the Paramilitary forces. Latter was the case with the Officer, who although from an Army background, joined the biggest Paramilitary forces of the world– that is The CRPF or Central Reserve Police Force.
He joined the force in 2013 and after very fine and rigorous training he got his first posting at India’s one of beautiful but challenging state which can be briefly introduced in Amir Khusro’s word as– “Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast” (If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here…). It’s being said that Khusro was so mesmerised by the beauty of this place that he compared that place to the heaven of the world. But in reality it takes little to turn a heaven turned into hell.
Coming back to the Officer, he is the only one in whole gamut of Paramilitary forces which stands at around 1.3 million at present, to have Seven Presidential gallantry Awards in his name. Recently he got his 7th medal in 15 August 2020. I know it’s amazing to hear that one officer has so many awards in his name but I am sure that you all will be amazed to hear that he got all these medals within the span of just four years. Usually it takes one an entire career to earn 3 to 4 medals. The sheer brilliance and acumen of the officer must be well rewarded, which is what is being done here.
His and his team’s acts of bravery started on August 15, 2016 when they foiled the possible attack on Independence Day celebration. On that day they killed two hard core terrorists affiliated with Hijbul Mujaheedin (HM). A month before that encounter, one of the top commanders of Hijbul, Burhan Wani was killed, so the circumstances were tensed, yet he and his team managed to eliminate the terrorists without any collateral loss. This was the first incident for which he was rewarded with his first Presidential gallantry medal on 26 January 2017. This encounter was special for him and for CRPF also–as they had launched Quick Action Team (QAT) which was to operate like a commando unit in the valley.
After forming the QAT, the officer, whom we know by the name of Assistant Commandant NARESH KUMAR (the killing machine of valley), was given the lead and charge of the unit. And let me tell you that, the resilience with which all those men performed was nothing short of crude professionalism and prowess. To validate this claim, I must make you aware that within 3 years of formation, this team has managed to eliminate over 50 terrorists which include both locals and foreigners. With such figures they have proved that they are as good as the special units of our country, which are well versed in Urban Warfare.
After taking the lead, Naresh Kumar, along with his men came face t face with death often. One incidence which he shared to one of the media houses and I quote “When I was about to jump inside the compound where we had cornered the militant, at that moment the boundary wall collapsed and I was injured badly, it took me around 7-8 days of hospitalisation to get back to normal”. This shows that it’s a matter of time when situation can turn completely either in our favour or in enemies. One more incident can be presented here to make my assessment completely right. That incident happened with him when they all were engaged in one encounter at a hostile neighbourhood. There was lot of stone-pelting and the encounter had continued for three days. One paramilitary personnel was injured. First, it was planned that the house would be blasted. But there were thousands of people and there was a risk of collateral damage. Then a room intervention was decided upon and QAT was chosen. Within minutes, they stormed the house and neutralised the militants. This got Kumar his second gallantry medal.
Naresh Kumar carried out many such operations and that too with full grace and responsibility. He usually ensured that he and his men were safe, but in one counter his buddy Mohd. Yasin Teli got killed in Action while fighting Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists at Pulwama. Thus Naresh dedicated his seventh Presidential gallantry award to his buddy. It not only shows the professional ties between the duos but it also shows the personal high standard the officer carries.
At last it will be unfair, if I don’t share one of the dangerous yet delightful incidences where Naresh was being called from Delhi for an on-going encounter. So as soon as he landed he went to the in-charge of Airport security and gave her a bouquet. As it was the day before 14th February, he said “that if he didn’t return by the evening, she should consider it an early Valentine’s Day present”. The lady in the conversation was herself an Assistant Commandant and also wife of Naresh Kumar.
“Till date Assistant Commandant Naresh Kumar has won 7 presidential Awards, 11 DG CRPF Commendation Disc, two J-K Police medals and NIA appreciations on several occasions.”