Jan. 27: Captain Sunil Kumar Choudhary of the Gorkha Rifles had his name written on two exclusive lists.
The Republic Day roll of honours awarded him a Sena Medal yesterday for his gallantry in fighting militants in Assam.
This afternoon the 25-year-old, said to be on Ulfas hit list, fell to a militants bullet weeks before he was to marry.
The young officer from Jammu, son of a lieutenant colonel, died in just the sort of operation that had made him a terror for militants hundreds of miles from his rebel-hit home state.
He attacked an Ulfa hideout in a Tinsukia village, shot a cadre dead, wounded another and was chasing the second man when a third shot him in the neck from inside the house.
Capt. Choudhary had been involved in several acts of bravery in the same area of eastern Assam, said the commanding officer of the 7/11 Gorkha Rifles, Colonel Pramit Saxena.
Last June, Chaudhary had shot Ulfa militants Palasmoni Rajbongshi and Bhaskar Moran dead. This won him the Sena Medal, Saxena said. It probably also put him on the rebels hit list.
The young man, who had joined the army three years ago, would have left his unit at Tinsukias Kopahtoli and gone home to get married in March. His body will be flown to his home village of Kathua, Jammu, tomorrow for a funeral with full military honours.
His father P.K. Choudhary is posted with the army general service in Nashik, Maharashtra.
Colonel Saxena said Capt Choudhary had received a tip about the presence of an eight-member Ulfa team in a secluded house in the Borpathar-Rongagora village, a few kilometres from where Choudharys unit was based on the outskirts of Doomdooma town. He immediately launched a special operation there.
Choudhary shot the militant who was guarding the house. The sound of firing brought a second militant rushing out of the house, shooting at the soldiers.
Choudhary fired back, hitting the rebel in the leg. As the injured guerrilla tried to flee, the officer gave chase but was cut down by a bullet from inside the house.
The other jawans shot the assailant dead while the injured rebel and a fourth, who was in the house, escaped. Sources said the fourth militant was senior Ulfa leader Joon Bhuyan.
The two slain insurgents have been identified as sergeant-major Chandan Dahotia and lance-corporal Pipla Moran, both of whom are from Ulfas 28 battalion.
Soldiers were searching the village, located on the fringes of the Mechaki Reserved Forest, till late into the evening looking for other militants.
An AK-56, about 100 live cartridges, two magazines, three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and a few mobile phones were found at the encounter site.