Service No: IC-65402L
DOB : 03 Jul 1975
Place of Birth : Bulandshahr, (UP)
Last Rank : Colonel
Unit : 19 Guards/21 RR
Arm/Regt : The Brigade of Guards
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Award : SM & two Bars
Date of Martyrdom : 02 May 2020
Col Ashutosh Sharma hailed from Parwana village in Bulandshahar district of Uttar Pradesh. Son of Shri Shambhu Dutt Pathak and Smt Sudha Sharma, he was born on 03 July 1975. He completed his schooling and graduated in Bulandshahar and attended the DAV Inter College. He was fascinated by Army life since his younger days and always dreamt of donning the Army uniform. Eventually, his dream came true when he got selected to join the Army through Combined Defence Services Examination. He was commissioned on 01 Sep 2001, into 19 Guards of the Brigade of Guards, an infantry Regiment known for its intrepid soldiers and numerous battle exploits.
After completing his training he served in various operational areas and gathered substantial field experience. He soon developed into a tough and gritty officer who led from the front and proved his mettle as a soldier on many occasions. For his act of bravery, he was awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry on 26 January 2018. In the following year in 2019, he shot, at close range, a terrorist who was rushing towards his men with a hidden grenade. He saved the lives of his men as well as personnel of the J&K Police. For this action, on 15 August 2019, when serving as the Commanding Officer of the 21st battalion, Rashtriya Rifles, he was awarded the bar to Sena Medal. By 2020, Col Ashutosh Sharma had been awarded, the “Sena Medal” two times for his commendable courage, gallantry, leadership, and devotion to duty, indeed a rare honour for any Army officer.
Handwara Operation: 02 May 2020
During 2020, Col Ashutosh Sharma was serving with the 21 RR battalion deployed in J&K. He was functioning as the Commanding Officer of the battalion which was engaged in counter-insurgency operations in its area of operation(AOR). As a number of militants were active in its AOR, the unit troops had to maintain a very high state of preparedness at all times and had to undertake operations at short notice. Based on the information from the intelligence sources, about the presence of some hardcore militants in Wadarbala-Rajwara forests in the Kupwara district, the security forces decided to launch a joint combing operation on 01 May 2020, comprising the elements of the Army, CRPF and J&K Police. As planned the joint task force launched the operation on the morning of 01 May 2020, wherein the Army team comprised 21 RR troops led by Col Ashutosh Sharma. Besides the CO himself, the 21 RR team included the Company Commander Maj Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar, Lance Naik Dinesh Singh, and few more soldiers.
As the team led by Col Ashutosh was returning from the massive combing operation in Wadarbala-Rajwara forests on 02 May 2020, it received inputs that 2-4 terrorists had taken refuge in a house in the nearby Chanjimulla hamlet. As per the information received, the terrorists clad in combat uniform had taken few civilians hostage in one of the houses. Col Ashutosh and his team immediately reached the site and swung into action. The terrorists were found to be hiding in two adjacent houses who fired at the troops on being challenged. A fierce gun-battle ensued thereafter lasting for several hours. During the drawn-out battle, Col Ashutosh and his men managed to eliminate two terrorists and also succeeded in extricating a number of civilians. However, during the heavy exchange of fire Col Ashutosh Sharma, Maj Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar, and Lance Naik Dinesh Singh got severely injured. They later succumbed to their injuries and were martyred. Col Ashutosh Sharma was a valiant soldier and a fine officer, who led from the front like a true Commanding Officer and laid down his life in the line of his duty. Col Ashutosh Sharma was given the gallantry award, “Sena Medal” third time on 26 Jan 2021 for his outstanding courage, leadership and supreme sacrifice.
Col Ashutosh Sharma is survived by his father Shri Shambhu Dutt Pathak, mother Smt Sudha Sharma, wife Smt Pallavi Sharma and daughter Tamanna.
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