Major Ganapathi Puttichanda Somiah of the Mahar Regiment was an expirienced soldier having distinguished himself in the antisurgency operations in Nagaland. He was among the first contingency of soldiers who reached Srilanka in 1987 as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force(PKF).
Major Ganapathi commanded a company of the 8 Mahar. On 16 October, 1987, the company was surrounded and attacked by heavily armed militants.
The battle raged on all day. Major Ganapathi's men were in unfamiliar territory and were running out of ammunition. Casualties began to mount. The major however, kept the enemy at bay. His cool courage inspired his men to fight back spiritedly.
A support patrol finally arrived with ammunition early next morning and the militants were driven away.
Major Ganapathi was awarded the Mahavir Chakra for exceptional devotion to duty.