New Delhi, Nov 18: The Indian Army on Wednesday paid rich tributes to Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, who made the supreme sacrifice while undertaking counter infiltration operation in Manigah forest of Kupwara district on Tuesday.
Col Santosh is survived by his wife Swati and two children. The Army paid rich tributes to their martyred hero in Srinagar today.
Hailing him as a soldier who always upheld the true traditions, the Indian Army said that Col Santosh was a soul with a heart of gold.
His ever-willingness to help others, his liking for undertaking social work, his respect for elders and his undying spirit of leading any mission from the front, made him a different spirit.
Known for his daredevilry acts, Col Santosh was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry) for his exceptional leadership as a young officer while fighting the terrorists in Lolab Valley of Kupwara district in 2003.
The braveheart hailed from a humble family
Col Santosh's orientation towards Indian Army emanated from his early days at Sainik School, Satara. His friends remember him as calm in composure, gentle in demeanour and carried a storm in his heart.
He came from a humble family. During a school boxing championship, one of his friends congratulated him for his victory to which his father responded: "This is not the great fight of my son, his real fight will be on the borders protecting his nation and my son will always be victorious."
Col Santosh worked tirelessly for bringing a positive change in the lives of the local populace.
He often organised guidance for competitive exams, recruitment training for joining defence forces and even conducted sports and academic competitions for constructive engagement of youth.
"He was passionately involved in bringing about a positive change in the youth of the remote border district of Kupwara. He always explored new ways to engage the youth in constructive activities, thereby making them self-sufficient," says an official.
Army says Col Santosh was an outstanding sportsman and often appreciated the potential of sports in gainfully diverting the energy of youth. He organised many sports tournaments for the youth and distributed sports kit and lavish prizes winners.
Always helped the needy with a smile
While showering praise on his selfless attitude and life, the Indian Army said that Col Santosh was always willing to help the needy.
"He often organised medical camps in the remote corners of his battalion area of responsibility. He ensured regular interaction with villager elders and gave them an empathetic ear in finding solutions to their problems. He was a familiar face in Kupwara town, who always acknowledged by the locals with a smile," says an official.
Funeral to be held in Satara tomorrow
Meanwhile, Army said that Col Santosh's funeral will be held in Satara on Thursday.
Brig Mahajan, Southern Command, Indian Army, told OneIndia that Col Santosh's mortal remains reached Air Force Station Pune in a special aircraft on Wednesday evening.
"Large number of people had gathered outside the station to welcome their hero. Col Santosh's body was carried in a specially-decorated vehicle to the National War Memorial. Retired Armymen and public on bikes performed pilot duties for vehicle carrying Col Santosh's mortal remains," Brig Mahajan said.