President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday was left teary-eyed after he presented an Ashoka Chakra award to Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala's mother and wife during Republic Day celebrations.
President Kovind, attending Republic Day celebrations for the first time as Head of State - presented the Ashok Chakra to the wife and mother of Late Air Force Commando JP Nirala. Corporal Nirala was part of a Garud Special Forces Unit of the Indian Air Force, a detachment of which was attached to a Rashtriya Rifles battalion under the aegis of 'Op Rakshak' in Jammu and Kashmir. He was killed in Bandipora encounter.
#AshokaChakra awarded to Late Air Force Commando JP Nirala, who lost his life in Bandipora encounter. President Kovind presents award to JP Nirala's mother and wife. #RepublicDay pic.twitter.com/S6E7pJysdP— ANI (@ANI) January 26, 2018
On November 18 last year, an offensive was launched in Chanderger village of Bandipora district based on specific intelligence. The Garud detachment covertly approached the target house where the terrorists were hiding and laid a close quarter ambush. During the encounter six terrorists, including the nephew on 26/11 attacks mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were gunned down. While the detachment laid in wait, six terrorists hiding in the house, rushed out, shooting and lobbing grenades at the Garuds.
In the violent exchange of fire, Corporal Nirala was hit by a volley of small arms fire. Despite being critically injured, he continued the retaliatory fire. Nirala succumbed to fatal gunshot wounds.
It was a tale that left President Kovind visibly emotional and he was seen wiping tears with a handkerchief after presenting Nirala's wife and mother with the Ashok Chakra.
Presenting gallantry awards posthumously to family members of fallen soldiers is always a sombre moment for India and Indians during Republic Day celebrations.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)