In a first for the Army, a woman officer has been awarded a gallantry medal for her brave action overseas. Major Mitali Madhumita, who was leading the army’s English Language Training Team in Kabul, has been awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry on the occasion of Independence Day
Major Madhumita, of the Army Education Corps, was the first officer to reach the Indian guesthouse that came under attack by suicide bombers on February 26. The officer was staying at a nearby guesthouse when she got information that the Indian facility had come under attack by a number of suicide bombers.
Though unarmed, she literally ran close to 2 km to reach the spot and rescued her colleagues who were trapped beneath the debris. Even though the encounter was on and shots were being fired as the attackers were in the area, the officer reached the Noor guesthouse that had been destroyed by a vehicle borne suicide bomb within minutes of the explosion.
While two Indian Army officers died on the spot, Major Madhumita personally extricated several officers of the Army training team who were buried beneath the rubble and rushed them to hospital. Regardless of her own safety, she pulled out several officers from the burning guesthouse and directed rescue operations on the ground.
The Noor guest house, in which doctors as well as Army officers of the training team were staying, was one of the main targets hit by suicide attackers in the February attack that was directed at Indian citizens working in Kabul. Three officers, all of the rank of Major, were killed in the attack. Major Laishram Jyotin Singh, who tacked a suicide bomber to save his colleagues, has been awarded the Ashok Chakra posthumously.
Major Madhumita, who spoke to The Indian Express days after the attack, said that her biggest concern was to get the injured officers to the nearby hospital and save as many lives as possible. Her only regret was that one the officers who has been taken to hospital with 40 per cent burns, Major Nitesh Roy, succumbed to his injuries in a Delhi hospital.
“When he talked to his family in India over the phone hours after the attack, he told his wife that everything is fine and he has only been slightly injured in the attack. He even reassured her that he would be back home soon,” Major Madhumita told The Indian Express three days after the February attack.
Major Madhumita was the first to inform the Indian embassy about the attack and called for medical help, saving precious minutes after the attack that helped save the life of several injured persons.