Sandeep was a native of Bangalore. His bravery was honoured with the Ashoka Chakra, India's highest peace time gallantry award, on January 26, 2009.
"Do not come up, I will handle them", were the last words which Major Unnikrishnan told his men as he was hit by bullets while engaging terrorists inside the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower during Operation Black Tornado, according to NSG officials.
He was the only son of retired ISRO officer K. Unnikrishnan and Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan.
Remembering Sandeep, whom he last spoke to before he left for the rescue operation at the Taj on November 26, 2008, K Unnikrishnan said: "Sandeep was everything to us. To me he was more of a friend. We lost everything in the 26/11 attacks and nothing can compensate this loss. We have not celebrated any festivals after losing our son and are living an aimless life. We are just living on our son's memories."
He also said that now the governments of India and Pakistan should work to counter terrorism. This can be done only by changing the mindsets of the people who have been brainwashed by the masterminds of terrorism. The real culprits behind 26/11 are yet to be caught and punished, he said. "Terrorists will not learn any lessons from Ajmal Kasab's case. They are trained to kill people. My son was trained to save lives. He was destined to fight the country's enemies. Our destiny was to suffer and we are living with it," said Unnikrishnan.