Nazir Ahmad Wani

On Thursday, January 24, 2019, the GOI announced that former militant turned soldier Lance NaikNazir Ahmad Wani, who was killed during a gunfight with the militants in south Kashmir’s Shopian in November 2018, will be conferred with the Ashoka Chakra on the Republic Day.

A resident of Chak-e-Ashmuji, Nazir lived in a nuclear family with his wife, Mahajabeena, a school teacher and two sons Athar (20) and Shahid (18).

He was a militant, but later became a government gunman and was adjusted in Army’s 162 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in 2004 when army gave jobs to a number of local Ikhwan cadres.

Wani was killed on November 25, 2018, in an encounter at Batagund village near Kapran in Shopian district in which six militants were killed. Soon after the news of the killing of militants spread clashes erupted in Shopian in which one civilian was killed and several others were injured. A twenty-month-old Hiba Nisar was also hit by pellets and has become the youngest pellet gun victim in Kashmir.

Wani was conferred with Sena Medal twice in 2007 and 2018 for participating in a number of counter-insurgency operations in South Kashmir.

Ashok Chakra is the highest peacetime military decoration for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. He is the first Kashmiri to be chosen for the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peacetime gallantry award.

Wani’s wife Mahajabeen has reached Delhi and will receive the award on Saturday by President Ram NathKovind.

Soon after the announcement, Srinagar based army spokesman Rajesh Kalia issued a statement said that Nazir has posthumously been awarded the Ashoka Chakra and that President Ram NathKovind would present the award to his wife, Mahajabeen.

“Under an intense hail of bullets from the terrorists he eliminated the district commander of the LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba) and one foreign terrorist in a daring display of raw courage,” said the statement.

He added that Nazir took multiple hits, some on his head, but “injured another terrorist” before falling.

“He was a hero right from the beginning and always served (the cause of) peace (in Kashmir). His extraordinarily fearless and courageous persona was reflected in getting the Sena Medal for gallantry twice in 2007 and 2018,” said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, governor Satya Pal Malik has paid rich tributes to Lance Naik Nazir. Governor observed that supreme sacrifice made by Lance Naik would always be an inspiration for the generations to come and motivate them to work selflessly for the safety and security of the country and towards the restoration of peace and harmony in the society.

– Tahir Bhat

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