Union Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday lauded Ashoka Chakra (posthumous) awardee Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, who was awarded the Ashoka Chakra (posthumous) on the 70th Republic day.
Wani was a terrorist-turned-soldier who laid down his life fighting a group of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district in November 2018.
Interacting with students in Bangalore, Karnataka, Irani eulogised Wani saying that a man who raised arms against India, surrendered, for he believed in India. She added that Wani went on to fight for that very idea of India. Praising Wani's believe in India she said that it is very easy for people to talk about belief but absolutely different when a person lays down his life for that belief.
She highlighted that the interesting thing about Wani's journey is that before he joined the Indian Army, he was a part of a terrorist group.
"Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani joined Army in 2004, received Sena medal in 2007 and 2018. Today posthumously, the Ashok Chakra was bestowed upon him. The interesting thing about his journey is that before he joined the Indian Army, he was a part of a terrorist movement," she said.
"A man who raised arms against India, surrendered, for he believed in India, and then went on to fight for that very idea of India. It's very easy for people like us to talk about belief, it's absolutely different when you're laying your life for that belief," she added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the family of Lance Naik Wani at the "At Home" function in the national capital after the Republic day celebrations. President Ram Nath Kovind and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too met the family.
He was conferred the Ashoka Chakra, India's highest peacetime gallantry award. Wani's wife Mahajabeen and mother Raja Bano received the award from President Kovind.
Wani, who has been posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra, will also be honoured by his colleagues and officers at Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Headquarters at Rangreth in Budgam.
Wani, the first Kashmiri to receive the honour, has been chosen for displaying exceptional courage when his unit engaged heavily-armed terrorists on November 25, 2018, in Hirapur village near Batgund in Kashmir.
"We have also decided to honour Wani as he was one of the Kashmiri youths who gives us the message that we have to move forward for the country together with such courage. It is a proud moment for us," CO of 162 Infantry Battalion Territorial Army Rajiv Ranjan Singh told news agency ANI.
Hailing from Cheki Ashmuji area of Kulgam district in Kashmir, Wani was once a terrorist but he gave up the terrorism and joined the Territorial Army in 2004 and was later a part of the Rashtriya Rifles. Apart from his wife, he is survived by two sons Athar (20) and Shaid (18).
On a fateful day, under the intense hail of bullets from the terrorists, he eliminated the district commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit and one foreign terrorist in a very daring display of raw courage.
In the gunfight, he was hit multiple times, including in his head but he carried on and injured another terrorist before succumbing to his grievous injuries.
Wani was a hero right from the beginning and always served for the peace in his home state of Jammu and Kashmir, said an Army official. 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 to him for eliminating a terrorist from a very close distance.