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Classmates of slain Army officer send Diwali sweets for unit Jawans

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Classmates of an Army officer from Maharashtra, who laid down his life battling militants near the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir's Kupwara district in 2015, have sent 250 kg of sweets to soldiers in his unit.

Col Santosh Mahadik, the Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was critically injured during the operation in Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the LoC in Kashmir in November 2015. He succumbed at a hospital later. Col Mahadik was a student of Sainik School, Satara in Maharashtra.

“The mithai boxes, weighing just over 250 kg, landed at Srinagar airport from Chandigarh and reached the 41 Rashtriya Rifles Wednesday, for distribution among the soldiers Mahadik once commanded,” one of his classmates involved in this initiative told PTI.

“This Diwali, we thought of his comrades-in-arms, who suffer harsh climes and the enemy from across the border, as well as some within. We thought this would be a nice gesture for soldiers who spend Diwali away from their families,” he said.

An officer from the elite 21 Para-Special Forces unit, Col Mahadik was awarded a Sena Medal for gallantry during Operation Rhino in the North-East in 2003.

An ace football goalkeeper, a skilled horse-rider and a passionate boxer, Col Mahadik was an all-rounder, his friends recall.

Despite the inhospitable terrain that made the Kupwara operation immensely challenging, the Colonel particularly chose to lead his battalion.

For Mahadik's classmates from the batch which passed out of the Sainik School 24 years ago, this is the third year of the “sweet gesture” which they call 'Operation Diwali'.

Mahadik's wife Swati was commissioned in the Army as a lieutenant in 2017.

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