LANCE Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a militant-turned-soldier of Kashmir who laid down his life during an anti-terror operation at Shopian in the border state, has been awarded the Ashoka Chakra. It is India’s highest peacetime gallantry award. He is the first Kashmiri who has won the prestigious award. President Ram Nath Kovind will present the award to the gallant soldier’s wife Mahajabeen on Republic Day in New Delhi. On November 25, 38-year-old Wani from Cheki Ashmuji in Kulgmam district of Jammu and Kashmir, was martyred 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-Tayyaba (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, an official release said.
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