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Hyderabad's Col Jojan Thomas honoured with Ashok Chakra

Hyderabad, January' 2009: Hyderabad's Col Jojan Thomas has been honoured with Ashok Chakra. President Pratibha Patil presented the medals to  Mrs. Beena Thomas wife of late Col Jojan Thomas during the 60th Republic Day parade on January 26th 2009.

Ashok Chakra is the country's highest peace-time gallantry medal. Apart from Col Jojan Thomas ,10 other security personnel have been honoured with Ashok Chakra this year at the Republic day celebrations in New Delhi.

Colonel Jojan Thomas died in an encounter with militants in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir in August'2008.

During early hours of August 22, Col Thomas received information about movement of terrorists in the Kupwara area in Jammu and Kashmir. He immediately started a search operation. At about 7 am, Col Thomas and his quick reaction team came in contact with a group of terrorists.

In the ensuing gun fight, he brought down two terrorists. Col Thomas also sustained gunshot wounds during the encounter.

Despite injury, Col Thomas continued the search and again found the terrorists. Two more terrorists were killed in the ambush. However, Col Thomas, too, suffered fatal injuries in the fresh round of fire. He later succumbed to his injuries. His team shot down six militants and he was one of the four Indian soldiers who were killed in the battle.

Col Thomas was commissioned in 11 Jat Regiment in 1986 from the Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai. The officer, besides holding prestigious staff appointments as GSO-1 (Ops) 3 Corps and instructor FTM, ASC Centre & College Bangalore, was also an experienced pilot.

He is the highest ranking Army officer to be killed in counter insurgency operations offlate in Kashmir.

45-year-old Col. Thomas was the eldest of four sons. His father Capt P.A. Thomas, who served in the Indian Army passed away recently in Hyderabad.His wife, Beena, and two children live in Bangalore while his mother stays in Hyderabad at Yapral.The slain army officer’s daughter is undergoing pilot training and his son is studying in class VI.

With the valiant death of Col Jojan Thomas, India lost another of its brave sons in the frontline of war against terrorism. Bright officer, brave soldier, and a role model leading from the front, Colonel Jojan Thomas will remain an inspiration to many.

He died defending for the nation and Hyderabad can  never forget its brave soldier.

A Martyr never dies. We salute his supreme sacrifice.

-Maju Kuriakose
Reachout's News Bureau
  January' 2009

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