First Muslim Indian soldier to receive gallantry award

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Lolab (Jammu and Kashmir), Feb 13: Abdul Hamid Chara has become the first Muslim soldier in Kashmir to be (posthumously) awarded the country's third highest gallantry award, the 'Shaurya Chakra', for his courageous effort in eliminating two terrorists in an operation.

Rich tributes were paid at a function in honour of this braveheart on Monday. Chara, a resident of Dardpura Lolab, about 125 kilometers from Srinagar, was enrolled into 162 Infantry Battalion of the Territorial Army in 2004 and was deployed with the Markul (Divar) company of the 18 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion on June 12, 2007.

During an operation in forest of Gagal, Lolab, Chara had to crawl under dense bushes to cut off fleeing route of militants, and in the process had to face heavy volume of rockets, grenades and arms fire from the rival camp.

Despite serious multiple injuries, he continued to engage the terrorists, killing one of them. His counter-attack ensured that the other two terrorists
also could not escape.

"Abdul Hamid Chara, who is from the Lolab area, has set an example for all the people, this area, for our country. He has sacrificed his life to finish off terrorism from the country," said the General Officer in Command of the Kilo Force, Lt. Gen. Rajinder Singh.

Chara is survived by wife Gulshan Begum and five children, who are being offered free education for life. The Army has also assisted the family in completing the construction of their unfinished house.

"We feel an emotional void, I have five children. I can get everything but he cannot return back…but we cannot help it. The treatment of army has
been very good; moreover he has sacrificed life for the nation," said Gulshan.

Chara's younger brother Aijaz has been enrolled in 163 Infantry Battalion of theTerritorial Army.

ANI

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