As President Ram Nath Kovind presented the prestigious Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM) to Lt General PGK Menon, celebrations erupted in the sleepy town of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Wednesday.

General Menon, who hails from south India, has a close connection with North Kashmir Baramulla district. Almost two decades ago, he served as the Commanding Officer of Baramulla based 46 Rashtriya Rifles (RR). Then Colonel Menon took over the command of 46 RR at a time when the terrorist activities in the town were at its peak and it had become difficult for the common people to carry out their routine activities.

While Colonel Menon ensured that his men crush the backbone of terrorism in the town, he also ensured that the common man across the town does not face any hardship.

The residents of Baramulla still remember the contribution of then Col Menon in restoring normalcy in the town and ensuring that innocent people don’t suffer.

“Almost two decades ago, people were afraid to venture in the old town because of the threat from terror outfits. Col Menon ensured that while the threat from terrorists was neutralised, the common man feels safe and secure,” Ghulam Ahmed, a resident of Old Town told News18 over phone from Baramulla.

He said at a time when separatists and terrorist had succeeded to create a barrier of distrust between the common people and armed forces, it was the relentless efforts of Col Menon that the bond of trust between the two was re-established.

“Col Menon would visit the people, enquire about their problems and help redress them. Under his command, his men would be always available and ready to help the people of the town when the need arose,” another resident said.

People in Baramulla still remember how Col Menon saved hundreds of youths of the town from falling into the clutches of terrorism by motivating them to not join the terror ranks.

“He would always hold meetings with the youth, engage them in constrictive activities, organise cricket and football matches for them, to show them how beautiful life was. He has saved the lives of hundreds of youth of Baramulla, who otherwise would have joined terror ranks and ruined their lives,” another, Mushtaq Ahmed, from Baramulla said.

When Col Menon was transferred out after completing his tenure as Commanding Officer of 46 RR, the people of the town came on roads demanding his stay.

The legacy left by Col Menon was followed by the successive commanding officers of the 46 RR as the Unit emerged as the saviour of Baramulla.

As he kept on progressing in his professional career, PGK Menon held various important positions in the Indian Army, including the one of the General Officer in Command of the Leh based 14 corps.

Gen Menon took over the command of the strategic 14 corps weeks after the bloody brawl between the Indian Army and the Peoples Liberation Army in which 20 Indian soldiers attained martyrdom and a large number of Chinese soldiers were also killed.

Known for his calmness and composure, Gen Menon is a man who does not want to remain in limelight but concentrate on the task at hand.

Gen Menon as the head of the 14 Corps led several rounds of Corps Commander level talks between PLA and the Indian Army, and it was due to his leadership that some headways were made towards the disengagement process in the Eastern Ladakh sector.

As the military secretary in the Army headquarters, Gen Menon is responsible for the promotions of all the officers besides being one of the principal staff officers of the Chief of Army Staff. Gen Menon is also the Colonel Commandant of the Sikh regiment.

Despite being busy, Gen Menon continues to maintain contact with his old acquaintances of Baramulla and whenever he gets time, he visits the region to meet the people there.

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