From floods to Babu’s rescue at Cheradu hills, Lt. Col Hemant Raj turns a superhero for Kerala

Palakkad: Lt. Col Hemant Raj was also among the soldiers who were deployed to Kerala for rescue operations during the floods. Years after the deluge, he won the hearts of Keralites again by leading the army team that rescued the youth who got trapped at Cheradu Koormbachi hills in Malampuzha here on Wednesday.

After an hours-long rescue operation, Babu, the 23-yr-old youth was successfully lifted from the crevice on the hills and hospitalised. Even after rescuing the youth, Hemant Raj didn’t leave him. It is learnt that this soldier is taking care of Babu at Palakkad district hospital. He was also in the 14-member team of soldiers who deployed at first for the rescue during the Coonoor Chopper crash that claimed the lives of 14 people including Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.

Hemant Raj, trainer of the Indian army’s Madras regiment at Ootty has turned a star by taking part in many rescue operations.

When floods ravaged the state in 2018, he was at the forefront of the rescue operations at Chengannur and Alappuzha. For this exemplary service, he had won the President’s medal for distinguished service in 2019. In the next year, Hemant Raj and his team reached Kerala again when a massive landslide hit Kavalappara.

In 2021, Hemant Raj had led the Madras regiment in the Republic Day parade held at Chennai. Interestingly, he is one among the few Keralites who got this opportunity.

A 9-member team of army men led by Hemant reached Malampuzha to rescue the youth from the hills as requested by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The soldiers ascended the hills after taking a few natives along with them. Influencing the people to trust the army, Hemant and his team successfully completed the mission.

Hemant is the son of Ettumanoor native retired excise inspector TK Rajappan and CS Lathika Bhai. His wife Dr Theertha, a native of Payyoli is running a dental clinic at Thavalakuzhi in Ettumanoor. The couple has a son Ayaan.

Many people are visiting Hemant’s family by appreciating his efforts in the mission to rescue the youth. Union minister V Muraleedharan and minister VN Vasavan congratulated Hemant over the phone.

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