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Villagers bid tearful farewell to slain armyman

Kulgam, : Tears streamed down the faces of residents of Chak Ashmuji village Monday as they bid farewell to Lance Naik Nazir Ahmed Wani, who was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district in which six militants were killed.

Wrapped in tricolour, the body of the decorated soldier was taken to his native village Ashmuji in Kulgmam and handed over to family members.

“Wani was a militant initially and became a counter-insurgent after he realised the futility of violence,” a senior Army officer accompanying the coffin said.

“The family was fighting tears and they were honoured by the supreme sacrifice of Lance Naik Wani for the nation and peace for his state,” the officer said.

After the rituals, the body was taken for burial to a nearby graveyard where 500 to 600 villagers were present. A 21-gun salute was given when Wani’s body was lowered in the grave.

The villagers had started gathering at his residence early Monday morning to mourn the death of their son, who began his career with 162 battalion of Territorial Army in 2004.

“He was a real braveheart and his enthusiastic participation in an anti-militancy operation had fetched him a Sena Medal in 2007 and again a bar to the Sena Medal this year on the eve of Independence Day,” the officer said.

His battalion was attached with a unit of Rashtriya Rifles, a force carved out of the Army for fighting militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. “His colleagues will always remember him for his indomitable courage and bravery which led to many successful operations,” the officer said.

Wani, 38, who died during a fierce gunfight Sunday, is survived by a wife and two children aged 20 and 18 years.

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