Militant-turned-Army man from Kashmir gets highest peacetime gallantry award

PTI
Thursday, 24 January 2019

On November 25, 38-year-old Wani, hailing from Cheki Ashmuji in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, lost his life in a counter-terror operation against six terrorists in Hirapur village near Batgund, in Shopian.

NEW DELHI: Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a militant-turned-soldier who laid down his life during an anti-terror operation at Shopian in Kashmir in November last year, has been awarded the Ashoka Chakra, India's highest peacetime gallantry award.

President Ram Nath Kovind will present the award to the gallant soldier's wife Mahajabeen on the Republic Day, officials said on Thursday.

On November 25, 38-year-old Wani, hailing from Cheki Ashmuji in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, lost his life in a counter-terror operation against six terrorists in Hirapur village near Batgund, in Shopian.

Under intense hail of bullets from the terrorists, he eliminated the 'district commander' of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and one foreign terrorist in a daring display of raw courage, officials said.

In the ensuing gunfight, he was hit multiple times including on his head. He also injured another terrorist before succumbing to his grievous wounds, they said.

Apart from his wife, he is survived by two sons Athar (20) and Shaid (18).

Mahajabeen, a teacher, said she has been trying to show the "right path" to young minds, drawing inspiration from her late husband.

Lance Naik Wani joined the Army's 162 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in 2004.

"He was a brave soldier and a hero right from the beginning. He always served for peace in his home state of Jammu and Kashmir," said a senior Army official.

Wani was a recipient of the Sena Medal for gallantry twice in 2007 and 2018.

"He always had the interests of the nation in his heart. He operated with Rashtriya Rifles units in Kashmir. Throughout his active life he always willingly faced grave potential threats and was a source of inspiration for others," said one of his colleagues.

He said Wani was from a humble background and used to work for the benefit of the underprivileged sections of society in his locality.

"A very genial man, he was very mindful of the problems of his village and surrounding area. Wani also had many acts of selfless service to his credit in the area he belonged to," he said.

Wani was awarded Sena Medal for his indomitable spirit in fighting terrorists.

Ashoka Chakra is the highest peacetime military decoration for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.

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