Bishnu Shrestha

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The Sena Medal, awarded by the Indian Government "for such individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage as have special significance for the Army."

Bishnu Shrestha (Nepali: बिष्णु श्रेष्ठ, born 1975 in Parbat District, Nepal) is a retired Nepalese Gurkha soldier in the Indian Army and recipient of the Sena Medal for bravery,[1][2] and the Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak medal,[3][4] both awarded for his gallant conduct during an armed train robbery.

Early life[edit]

Shrestha was born in Bachchha Deurali Khola, ward no. 9 of Parbat District in the western part of Nepal. This area is a remote but legendary and fertile land of Gurkhas where 80 percent of the residents are Gurung people, who dominate British and Indian Gurkha Regiments. He and his family moved to Pokhara after being recruited to an Indian Gurkha regiment.

Train robbery incident[edit]

On September 2, 2010, Bishnu Shrestha, a 35-year-old retired Gurkha soldier, was on his way to Gorakhpur from Nepal. He was travelling via the Maurya Express (Hatia-Gorakhpur) when 15 to 40[5][6] armed robbers attacked the train near Chittaranjan, West Bengal and robbed the passengers of their valuables such as money, jewelry, cellular phones and laptops.

According to some reports, when the bandits reached Shrestha, he was prepared to give up his valuables, but the 18-year-old girl sitting next to him was grabbed by the robbers who intended to rape her. The girl, who knew Shrestha was a retired soldier, appealed to him for help. He pulled out the large, curved kukri knife that all Gurkha soldiers carry and attacked the bandits.

In the narrow aisle of the train, a trained fighter like Shrestha had the advantage. Although some of the bandits had pistols, they were either fake or mishandled by the robbers. After approximately ten minutes of fighting, three bandits were dead and many were wounded. The remaining bandits chose to drop the stolen goods (200 cell phones, 40 laptops, a significant amount of jewelry, and nearly $10,000 in cash) and flee. Shrestha suffered a severe injury to his left arm and required two months of medical treatment to recover his injured hand.

In other reports, the outcome was somewhat different and Shrestha was less successful although no less bold.[7]


Shrestha was pleased by the appreciation he received and thanked the media for covering the news.

“The Indian media brought the incident to light and the Nepali media too gave it due importance. I may have even been sent to jail on the charge of robbery had the girl and the Indian media not come forward to my support," Shrestha said. "I was hardly recognized even in Baidam [his neighborhood]. Now the whole country knows me."[8]

When the intended rape victim's family offered him a large cash reward, he refused it with the following comment: "Fighting the enemy in battle is my duty as a soldier. Taking on the thugs on the train was my duty as a human being."[6]