Kolkata: In a rare instance in the Indian Army history Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane and all other ranks attended the investiture ceremony on Saturday wearing black armbands in memory of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans martyred in the terror attack at Awantipura in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir.
All of them including Lt. Gen. Naravane who awarded the medals, decorations and unit citations and the recipients wore the black armbands on their left hands. Many senior officers who attended the event at Albert Ekka auditorium at Fort William, the Eastern Command Headquarters, in the morning could not recall when they last carried any such symbol on their uniform as a mark of respect noting that it is not allowed in the military service.
According to sources, an order for ‘no fanfare’ was issued for the event to make it a low-key affair. Sending out a message of solidarity and unity among the security forces Lt Gen Naravane said, “Our hearts go out to all the families of the bereaved soldiers as you can see we are all wearing black armbands as a sign of mourning. Any loss of life is of course a very sad incident. We are all brothers in arms.”
The Eastern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief added, “We are all part of the overall ambit of the security forces and all work together in operations in close cooperation. Any attack on any of us is all of us. We will continue to work in synergy and will not let one or two isolated incidents affect our morale as a whole.”
At the ceremony one Yudh Seva Medal, 10 Sena Medals (Gallantry), one Bar to Sena Medal (Distinguished), five Sena Medals (Distinguished) and 12 Vishisht Seva Medals were awarded apart from 18 units of the Eastern Command were accordeded the Unit Appreciation of the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, which includes 10 infantry battalions, two artillery regiments, two engineer regiments, one aviation squadron, one ASC Battalion and two Assam Rifles Battalions for exemplary professional performance.