Saturday, November 29, 2008

City hero goes down fighting

City hero goes down fighting
Team TOI

Bangalore: Like any parents with a single child, the Unnikrishnans too were against their only son joining the defence forces. However, Major Sandeep had made up his mind while in Class VIII itself.
Major Sandeep was killed on Thursday evening when he was engaged in an the operation to clear terrorists holed up in the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.
Back home in Bangalore, gloom loomed over Unnikrishnan’s house near Yelahanka. His father, a retired ISRO employee, spoke twice to the media, his voice heavy with grief. But other family members were not forthcoming. The NSG DG confirmed Sandeep’s death around 11.30 am.
It was a gruelling wait for the family — the body was scheduled to arrive at 5.30 pm, but was put off to 9.30 pm. The body was brought to the Yelahanka Air Force base and taken to the Command Hospital. The last rites will be performed on Saturday with full military honours.
Born on March 15, 1977, joining the Services was a childhood dream for Sandeep. Even as a Class VIII student at the Frank Anthony Public School, his parents could sense the determination in the boy. He joined the 7th Bihar Regiment on June 12, 1999. He underwent rigorous training in counter-insurgency operations. He joined the NSG on January 20, 2007, and became team commander of 51 SDG.
On Thursday evening, Sandeep led the operation in the Taj, engaging himself in clearing the terrorists. When one of the NSG commandos was injured, Sandeep organized his evacuation and noticed one of the terrorists moving to the next floor through a staircase. Sandeep followed the terrorist and engaged him in a gunbattle, till others joined him. By then, he was seriously injured.
His passion for working in the defence forces took a toll on his personal life too. Sandeep had married his childhood friend and classmate Neha, but their relationship was strained. A MARTYR COMES HOME An athlete, singer, science student
Bangalore: Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan spent 14 years of his life at the Frank Anthony Public School. A popular figure among his contemporaries, Major Unnikrishnan had only one mission in his life — to join the Army.
According to principal C Browne, who also taught the Armyman math and physics in Class 10, Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan was an outstanding student. “He finished ISC Science from here, way back in 1995. Besides this, he was also a fantastic athlete. Most of his athletic records remained unbroken for many years,” reminisces Browne.
The principal, who has taught at FAPS for the past 30 years, said he remembered Sandeep as a tall, slim boy with the most genial personality. “He was the house captain and loved by all. Ever since he was a boy, he wanted to join the Army. He even wore his hair like the commandos,” added Browne.
Besides displaying traits of courage and valour, Maj. Unnikrishnan also had a soft side to him.
According to Browne, he also sang in the school choir for many years. “I remember him as a happy-go-lucky kid. As a school, we plan to honour him by holding a memorial assembly service along with a few of his classmates,” said Browne


Post a Comment

<< Home