Ex-militant from Kashmir gets Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous)

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New Delhi, May 14 (UNI) He fully lived up to his name. Rifleman Abdul Hamid Chara from Kashmir was named by his father, Laldin Chara, after the legendary Indian soldier Abdul Hamid Khan who destroyed several enemy tanks at Asal Uttar in Amritsar during the India-Pakistan War on September 9, 1965.

Company Quarter Master Havildar (CQMH) Khan was later awarded India's highest gallantry award, the Parma Vir Chakra (PVC) posthumously. And this was the first PVC of the 1965 war.

President Pratibha Patil today honoured Chara, the surrendered militant-turned-soldier, with Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous) for displaying extraordinary courage and dedication to duty.

His wife, Gulshan, received the award from the President at an investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan this evening.

Born exactly ten years after the 1965 Indo-Pak war on March 8, 1975, Hamid Chara grew up to be a sincere and hard working boy in the serene environs of Dardapora village in Lolab Valley of north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

At play, he was regarded a leader among his Gujjar friends.

Hamid Chara was barely 14 years of age when a sudden wave of terrorism swept roost part of the Kashmir valley. Al-Barq militants kidnapped and forced Hamid Chara to join the outfit.

However, he deserted them after a couple of days and surrendered to the police.

Hamid Chara later served with the Special Operation Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and provided valuable inputs, leading to many successful anti-insurgency operations.

Unmindful of threat to him and his family, he continued to work for ushering in peace in picturesque Lolab valley.

Frustrated over unsuccessful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack on Hamid Chara, militants killed his father Laldin in 2004 in cold-blooded murder.

In October 2004, Hamid Chara joined 62 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) and was posted with Divar (Markul) Company of 18 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalion.

On June 12 last year, Hamid Chara took part in search and destroy operation in Ander Nar area of Gagal (Kupwara). During mid day, he observed two militants trying to run away.

Hamid Chara allowed them to come within five meters as he crawled under dense undergrowth of vegetation to cut off their escape route.

Suddenly militants spotted him and brought down heavy volume of rocket, grenade and small arms fire.

Despite serious multiple gun shot and splinter injuries, 33-year-old Hamid Chara continued to bring down accurate fire and crawled downhill to cover dead ground and killed one militant who was later identified as Mussa, the self-styled District Commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in Kupwara.

Mussa was in charge of coordinating all activities and management of the LeT.

UNI AG MSJ GC1830

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