Ashoka Chakra for ex-terrorist who died fighting as a soldier | India News

NEW DELHI: Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a former terrorist who joined the Territorial Army 15 years ago and then went on to win two Sena Medals for bravery before heroically laying down his life in a major counter-terrorism operation in which six terrorists were killed last November, will be awarded the country’s highest peacetime gallantry medal on Republic Day this year.

Wani’s widow Mehjabin Akhtar, accompanied by his mother Raja Begum, will receive the Ashoka Chakra from President Ram Nath Kovind during the Republic Day parade on Saturday.

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

On November 25 last year, Wani was at the forefront of a major operation being conducted by 34 Rashtriya Rifles against six heavily armed terrorists at Hirapur village, near Batagund in Shopian district of Kashmir Valley. He moved swiftly with his team to the target house and positioned himself to block the likely escape route of the terrorists.

“The terrorists attempted to breach the inner cordon by firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades. Undeterred by the hail of bullets, Wani eliminated the district commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Thereafter, displaying exemplary soldierly skills, Wani lobbed grenades into a room where another foreign terrorist was hiding,” said an officer.

Seeing the terrorist escaping from a window, Wani encountered him in a hand-to-hand combat situation. Despite being gravely wounded after being hit multiple times, including on his head, Wani killed the terrorist and continued to engage the remaining terrorists with the same ferocity and audacity. He injured yet another terrorist at close range, but was hit again and succumbed to his injuries,” he added.

Wani, a resident of Cheki Ashmuji in Kulgam district of J&K, was enrolled in the 162 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army), which is affiliated to the Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry and largely consists of surrendered militants or “Ikhwanis”. He won Sena Medals in 2007 and 2017 for his “exemplary courage, outstanding bravery and dedication towards duty” during the “successful execution” of many counter-terror operations in south Kashmir over the years.

“Lance Naik Wani epitomised the qualities of a fine soldier. He always volunteered for challenging missions, displaying great courage under adverse conditions, exposing himself to grave danger on numerous occasions in the line of duty,” said a Rashtrapati Bhavan notification.

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