File photo of Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani | By special arrangement
File photo of Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani | By special arrangement
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Recipient of Sena Medal twice, Lance Naik Wani was killed in a counter-terrorism operation in November last year.

New Delhi: Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a former militant-turned-soldier who laid down his life during an anti-terror operation at Batagund village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian in November, will be awarded India’s highest peacetime gallantry medal, the Ashoka Chakra.

“Lance Naik Wani epitomised 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,” a Rashtrapati Bhawan notification said Wednesday.

Wani, who belonged to the 162 Territorial Army Battalion of the Indian Army, has been a recipient of Sena Medal twice.

 Lance Naik Wani's family at his funeral | By special arrangement
Lance Naik Wani’s family at his funeral | By special arrangement

His wife will receive the Ashok Chakra at the Republic Day Parade on 26 January.


Also read: In Kashmir, security forces plan to cut access to sites of funerals of militants


November operation

Wani was operating with the 34 Rashtriya Rifles on 23 November 2018, when intelligence input was received that six heavily armed Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were present in Batagund village.

A resident of Kulgam, Wani and his team were tasked to block the likely escape route of the terrorists.

“Sensing danger, the terrorists attempted breaching the inner cordon, firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades. Undeterred by the situation, Wani held ground and eliminated one terrorist in a fierce exchange at close range,” the notification said.

The 38-year-old then closed in on a house where another terrorist was hiding. As the terrorist tried to flee, Wani engaged him in hand-to-hand combat. Despite being wounded, he eliminated the terrorist, it added.

However, Wani succumbed to his injuries later in a military hospital.


Also read: Dozens of Indian Army jawans under lens for ‘falling prey to Facebook honey trap’


‘Braveheart’

The Lance Naik began his career with the Territorial Army’s 162 Battalion in 2004. The 162 TA largely consist of Ikhwanis, terrorists who surrendered and joined the Indian Army.

Soldiers from the 162 TA play a crucial role in anti-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir. These soldiers who come from the local areas have a sound network and are able to track down information about the presence of terrorists.

Wani was given a 21-gun salute as his body was lowered into the grave in his village on 26 November. He was draped in the tricolour when the Army brought his body to the village and handed it over to his family.

A large number of Kashmiris had assembled for his funeral.

“He was a real braveheart and his enthusiastic participation in an anti-militancy operation had fetched him a Sena Medal in 2007 and again a bar to the Sena Medal last year on the eve of Independence Day,” a senior Army officer operating in Jammu and Kashmir said on condition of anonymity.

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