New Delhi(PTI): Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu, the commanding officer of the 16 Bihar regiment who led from the front against the brutal Chinese attack in Galwan Valley in June last year, was on Tuesday posthumously awarded Mahavir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind for displaying "exemplary courage" during the clash.

Babu's wife B Santoshi and mother Manjula received the award at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the top military brass of the country.

Mahavir Chakra is the second-highest military award for acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy

Four other soldiers, Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren, Havildar (Gunner) K Palani, Naik Deepak Singh and Sepoy Gurtej Singh, who also laid down their lives valiantly fighting the Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley clash on June 15 last year, have been conferred with Vir Chakra awards posthumously.

Naib Soren's wife Laxmi Mani Soren, Havildar Palani's wife Vanathi Devi and Naik Singh's wife, Rekha Singh, received the awards from the President.

Sepoy Gurtej Singh's mother Prakash Kaur and father Virsa Singh received the Vir Chakra from the President.

Twenty Indian Army personnel has laid down their lives in the fierce hand-to-hand combat in eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley clash, an incident that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.

Colonel Babu, despite being grievously injured, led the Indian troops from the front with absolute command and control despite hostile conditions.

He valiantly resisted the enemy attack till his last breath, while inspiring and motivating his troops to hold ground, during the 'Operation Snow Leopard'.

The citation said Col Babu has been awarded the Mahavir Chakra for displaying "exemplary leadership, astute professionalism and supreme sacrifice" in the line of duty.

The Indian Army has built a memorial for the 'Gallants of Galwan' at Post 120 in eastern Ladakh.

The memorial mentioned their heroics under operation 'Snow Leopard' and the way they evicted the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops from the area while inflicting "heavy casualties" on them.

Naib Subedar Soren, who was part of the 16 Bihar Regiment, led his column and resisted the enemy's attempt to push back the Indian soldiers while establishing an observation post, according to official details.

He organised his column, countered the adversary forcefully and stopped them in their attempt to push back Indian troops. Soren displayed raw courage, fighting with a resolute spirit before succumbing to his injuries.

Havildar Palani stood bravely and tried to defend his comrades even when the enemy attacked him with a sharp weapon.

His act of valour inspired other fellow soldiers to fight fiercely and resist enemy aggression. In spite of his grievous injuries, he continued to hold his ground resolutely and in the finest traditions of the Indian Army and laid down his life for the motherland, according to the details.

Naik Deepak Singh, who too belonged to 16 Bihar regiment and was performing duties as a nursing assistant, played a pivotal role in rendering treatment and saving the lives of more than 30 Indian soldiers.

Sepoy Gurtej Singh, who was from the third battalion of the Punjab regiment, successfully spotted the enemy troops while establishing the observation post.

Singh displayed raw courage and exceptional combat skills in resisting the enemy troops and kept fighting even after he was seriously injured, according to the official accounts of the clash.

Several other armed forces personnel were also honoured at the ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Saturday observed that no student above the age of 18 years, teachers, and staff can be allowed to attend schools and colleges unless they have received at least one jab of the COVID vaccine.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum was hearing a PIL filed by Mangaluru doctor Srinivas B Kakkilaya and others. The bench dismissed the PIL and said at least one dose of the COVID vaccine should be mandatorily taken by those attending schools and colleges.

The PIL had claimed that the circular issued by the state government on July 16, 2021, making vaccination mandatory in nature was in violation of fundamental rights as guaranteed under Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.

It had also added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has maintained that the vaccination does not prevent the spread of the virus hence has little potential of stopping the pandemic.

According to the petitioners, such discrimination based on unreasonable classification, such as status of vaccination of an individual, is curbing the rights to practice any profession. The petitioners further claimed that the circular violates the dictum of the Supreme Court in the Common Cause Vs Union of India (2018) case which recognized the right, choice, and liberty of an individual to prefer the medicine of his/ her choice.

“We are of the considered view that no student, teacher or staff who have not received vaccines shall be permitted to attend the school or college, where the students gather in large numbers and risk them. As such no directions can be issued to permit such teachers, students, or staff who have not received at least one dose of vaccine to attend colleges in terms GO dated July 16, 2021,” the court said.