Lance Naik Nazir Wani, who joined the Indian Army in 2004 after giving up militancy, will be posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra this year, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The Ashoka Chakra is the highest peacetime military award in India.
Wani died during an operation at Batagund village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian in November.
“Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani exhibited the most conspicuous gallantry in personality eliminating two terrorists and assisting in the evacuation of his wounded colleagues and made supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army,” the President’s Secretariat said in a press release. Six militants were killed in the encounter.
Wani is a two-time Sena Medal awardee. Before joining the Army, he was a part of Ikhwan, a counter-insurgency force mostly made of former militants.
On November 25, Wani and his team reportedly formed a cordon to stop the militants at Batagund village. “Sensing danger, the terrorists attempted breaching the inner cordon, firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades,” the statement said. “Undeterred by the situation, Wani held ground and eliminated one terrorist in a fierce exchange at close range.”
Wani reportedly killed another militant in hand-to-hand combat despite his injuries.
“He was a hero right from the beginning and always served for peace in his home state of Jammu and Kashmir,” an Army statement read. “His extraordinarily fearless and courageous personage was reflected in getting the Sena Medal for gallantry twice in 2007 and 2018. The 2018 Sena Medal was given for eliminating one terrorist from a very close distance.”
The Army described Wani as a “very genial man” who was “very mindful of the problems of his village and surrounding area” and worked for the underprivileged. “His heroic efforts during operations will be a beacon of light for the youth of Kashmir,” the Army added.