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ATS chief, NSG commando laid to rest

CNN-IBN
Nov 29, 2008 at 03:56pm IST

Mumbai/Bangalore: Bangalore bid a tearful farewell to National Security Guard commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan while in Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare has been cremated.

Major Unnikrishnan was martyred on Friday morning while trying to save one of his colleagues at the Taj.

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The 31-year-old Major, born on March 15, 1977 and the only son of retired ISRO officer K Unnikrishnan, joined the National Defence Academy and was commissioned in the 7th Battalion of Bihar Regiment in 1999.

Major Unnikrishnan was with the 51 Special Action Group of the NSG.

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The officer had joined the NSG on deputation in January 2007 after having served two tenures with his battalion in counter insurgency and counter terrorism roles.

He led a commando team to clear Taj Hotel on November 27. The operation was code named Operation Cyclone.

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When one of the commando of his team was injured, Major Unnikrishnan went in to evacuate him and spotted one of the terrorists.

Major Unnikrishnan engaged the terrorist in a gunbattle and had overpowered him but another terrorist who was hiding in the room fired at him seriously injuring the brave officer. Major Unnikrishnan succumbed to his injuries soon.

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Another NSG commando Havaldar Gajendra Singh was killed during the operations at the Jewish centre, Nariman House.

The operation at Nariman House was code named Black Tornado.

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Karkare was killed along with two other top policemen, Additional Commissioner of police Ashok Kamte and police inspector Vijay Salaskar at Cama Hospital near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal when they came under fire from terrorists on Wednesday night.

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His colleagues, visibly moved, paid homage to the senior officer. Karkare is survived by his wife Amruta, his two daughters Jui and Sayali and son Akash.

LAST JOURNEY: ATS chief Hemant Karkare was killed at Cama Hospital.

The 54-year-old police officer had a career spanning 26 years. Originally from Madhya Pradesh, he studied mechanical engineering in Nagpur.

After stints at the National Productivity Council and Hindustan Lever, he made it to the Indian Police Service in 1982.

Karkare served as Superintendent of Police in Chandrapur, Maharasthra primarily fighting Naxalites from 1991 to 1993.

He was also an Assistant Commissioner of Police in Nagpur.

Known as an upright officer, he served in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for seven years.

He returned to his state cadre to head the ATS in Jaunary 2008 and is credited with solving the serial bomb blasts in Thane, Vashi and Panvel.

He and his team faced severe criticism from Bharatiya Janata Party leaders for probing the involvement of Hindu leaders in the Malegaon blast case.

Only last week, Pune ATS received phone calls threatening to blow up Karkare's residence. But when a journalist asked him via SMS whether it was true or false, his response was just a smile.

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