Three personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Indian Army have been awarded the Sena Medal for killing Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, PTI reported on Thursday. Major Sandeep Kumar, Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind Singh Chauhan led the operation on July 8, 2016, into the village of Bumdoora in Jammu and Kashmir where Wani (pictured above) and other militants had been hiding.
Bumdoora, which is 18-km southeast of Anantnag, was cordoned off before the operation. Kumar led his team there after receiving “actionable” intelligence regarding the presence of militants in the village. Apart from retaliatory fire by the gunmen, the soldiers reportedly also had to deal with stone-pelting by villagers in the area, who had gathered to protest their presence.
The state has seen violent protests and retaliatory police action since Wani’s death. Nearly 100 civilians and several security personnel were killed, while thousands sustained serious injuries in clashes with security forces. For months, everyday life came to a standstill in the Valley because of calls for curfews and restrictions on internet services imposed to prevent further violence. Wani’s death also led to a deterioration in relations between India and Pakistan.
Apart from Kumar, Sharma and Chauhan, the Indian Army soldiers who carried out surgical strikes along the Line of Control with Pakistan were conferred gallantry awards on Wednesday. One Kirti Chakra – India’s second-highest peacetime gallantry award – five Shaurya Chakras, which is the third-highest such award, and 13 Sena Medals were given to 19 personnel of the 4 Para and 9 Para battalions of the Special Forces.