President Ram Nath Kovind awards Shaurya Chakra to Kashmir teen for fighting militants
New Delhi, March 20: India's policy towards Kashmir has come under criticism from various quarters of late. However, one recent development did a favour to India's image in the disturbed state and it was President Ram Nath Kovind conferring a 16-year-old boy from the Valley with the prestigious Shaurya Chakra Award for fighting militants in the state's Shopian district.
The move is expected to bolster the image of India's inclusiveness and discourage youths in the Valley from joining militancy.
The teen, Irfan Ramzan Sheikh, was conferred the third-highest peacetime gallantry award that is generally given to armed forces and para-military personnel for showing courage against the militants. The extremists had surrounded Irfan's house on the intervening night of October 16-17 in 2017. His father Mohammad Ramzan was a sarpanch with links with the People's Democratic Party that was in power then in the state along with the BJP.
President Kovind presents Shaurya Chakra to Irfan Ramzan Sheikh. He exhibited courage and maturity and fought off militants, safeguarding the life of his father and other family members in Jammu & Kashmir pic.twitter.com/FVnWkOaOja— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) March 19, 2019
"Sensing that the militants could harm his family, he exhibited highest degree of courage and faced the militants for sometime so as to avoid their entry inside the house. In meantime, his father came out and the militants pounced on him, resulting in scuffle," the citation of Irfan's award read.
He rushed to his father's rescue without caring for his life. Though his father eventually succumbed to injuries, the boy continued to fight the militants, causing injury to one of them as well. He succeeded in chasing away the other militants who left their injured mate behind, according to a PTI report.
"Irfan Ramzan Sheikh exhibited the extraordinary show of bravery and maturity at such a small age," the citation read.
A student of Standard 10, Irfan aspires to become an IPS officer some day.