On April 25, 2014, Major Mukund Varadarajan, a company commander in 44 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), received information about the presence of three terrorists in a village of Shopiyan district of Jammu and Kashmir. The same terrorist group had targeted polling officials a day before.

Major Varadarajan acted swiftly by deploying his troops in an effective cordon and simultaneously evacuated civilians from the area to ensure that there was no collateral damage.

Major Varadarajan personally led the demolition team with no regard to his personal safety. He swiftly and innovatively used demolitions to bring down the target house. This bold and aggressive action forced the terrorists to shift their position to an outhouse in the same compound.

Major Varadarajan, along with his buddy Sepoy Vikram, crawled into the close proximity to the outhouse, displaying raw courage. Maj Varadarajan closed in fearlessly and lobbed a grenade inside the outhouse, killing one terrorist instantaneously.

Another terrorist present in the outhouse opened automatic fire, seriously injuring Major Varadarajan. Although bleeding profusely, the officer crawled ahead, unmindful of his grave injury, fired and neutralised the second terrorist. Though grievously wounded, he continued firing till he collapsed.

Major Mukund Varadarajan was subsequently evacuated. He succumbed to his injuries later. For his valour, Major Mukund Varadarajan was posthumously awarded India’s highest gallantry award in peace time the Ashok Chakra.