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Terrorist-Turned-Jawan Who Laid Down His Life For The Country To Be Conferred With Ashoka Chakra

Two months ago, India lost a braveheart while fighting terrorists in the Shopian district of the Kashmir Valley and we're still sullen and absolutely gutted with grief losing such a heroic man.

Lance Naik Nazir Ahmed Wani, a terrorist-turned soldier laid down his life in a gruesome encounter with terrorists and was buried with the utmost honour and respect in his own village-Chak Ashmuji in Jammu and Kashmir. 

He definitely brought a rare sense of honour to his little hamlet, surrounded by paddy fields and orchards, all around. But that's not all. Every soldier who fights a long and hard battle to protect us, while we sleep peacefully, needs a deserving accolade for his brave deeds and that's exactly what Wani received, with absolute honour.

Ashoka Chakra For Martyred Terrorist-Turned-Jawan© Twitter

India's highest peacetime gallantry medal, the Ashok Chakra, was posthumously awarded to Wani, for fighting fiercely and losing his life, a brief while after. 

Wani, an Ikhwan, was shot in a counter-terrorist operation in Shopian district two months ago, in which 6 terrorists were killed. An Ikhwan is someone in the state of Jammu & Kashmir who gives up militancy and takes a solid stand against it, while becoming absolutely pro-government and is a part of the counter-insurgency operations.

When the news of his honour reached his village, no one reacted to it, no one shared any grief or happiness or even a condolence. Wani's family and the villagers didn't find anything spectacular about the award, as they believed these awards serve no purpose anymore.

Ashoka Chakra For Martyred Terrorist-Turned-Jawan© Twitter

“Nobody came, and why should they? When he was alive, we prayed for him to be safe at his place and us to be safe here. Now, when he is no more, what purpose will these awards serve?” Mushtaq, Wani's younger brother spoke to a popular publication.

Unlike a few neighbouring villages around Wani's village, including Shopian, where Wani lost his life, his was very different and peaceful and the story shouldn't have been about the death of a soldier, who hailed from there. But because the village of Cheki Ashmuji was swaying towards pro-Azadi sentiments, its conversion to that of a militancy-stricken village, wasn't too far away. No one from the village actually joined militancy, but half a dozen of the men from the village are in the Army or Paramilitary Forces.

Ashoka Chakra For Martyred Terrorist-Turned-Jawan© TOI

Wani, whose family still resides in Cheki Ashmuji, had moved to a well-protected colony at Kulgam district headquarters after he joined the Ikhwan, almost two decades ago. A lot of militants, in fact, give up militancy in the early years and become Ikhwans to serve the Army and do away with terrorism. And that's what Wani believed in as well. His tryst with peace to his village and his nation grew bigger than the half baked purpose he was serving before. 

He was awarded the Sena medal in gallantry back in 2007 and a bar to the Sena medal in August this year and his death was a testimony of his bravado displayed in South Kashmir, where his battalion was attached with a unit of Rashtriya Rifles, which is a force especially put together to fight militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Ashoka Chakra For Martyred Terrorist-Turned-Jawan© TOI

President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday presented the Ashoka Chakra award to Wani's wife Mahajabeen and right after the award was given, an Army spokesperson described how Wani had fought till his last dying breath.

“Under an intense hail of bullets from the terrorists, he eliminated the district commander of the LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba) and one foreign terrorist in a daring display of raw courage. He took multiple hits, some to his head but injured another terrorist before falling. “He was a hero right from the beginning and always served (the cause of) peace (in Kashmir). His extraordinarily fearless and courageous persona was reflected in getting the Sena Medal for gallantry twice in 2007 and 2018" The Army official said.

Ashoka Chakra For Martyred Terrorist-Turned-Jawan© Twitter

Nazir Ahmed chose peace over violence and he fought for what was right, In fact, we learnt that Mahajabeen had fallen in love with exactly that quality of his and it was love at first sight for them, when the two met in school when they were just 15. A teacher and a mother of two, Mahajabeen said he always instilled a good value and belief system in her and his fierce love was enough motivation for her to cultivate young people to become good citizens for the country.

Ashoka Chakra For Martyred Terrorist-Turned-Jawan© Twitter

When he was set to receive the highest and most prestigious award for his martyrdom, she did not cry for his death. She was proud of the fact that he did something to set a brave example for the generation to come and for her, he was always her guiding light, her pillar of strength.

"He had telephoned me the previous evening and enquired about our well-being. I had told him to take care of himself. But destiny had something else for him. He always wanted to make his 162/TA Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry battalion proud. For him, duty was supreme. He was a source of inspiration for people in our area and community," She told a popular news publication agency.

Ashoka Chakra For Martyred Terrorist-Turned-Jawan© Twitter

Lance Naik Nazir Ahmed Wani will always serve as an inspiration to the Armed Forces and youngsters growing up, learning and reading about jawans like him, who gave up militancy for the greater good. He always had the interest of the nation at heart and gave his all to protect his family, friends, subordinates and strangers. 

This Republic Day, let's remember more such heroes and be grateful that they're always there to protect us.

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