16-Yr-Old Kashmir Boy Shows Bravery At The Face Of Enemy, Receives Shaurya Chakra Award
In a move that probably ensures India’s willingness to make Kashmiris more inclusive and to keep them from joining militancy, President Ram Nath Kovind on March 19 conferred a 16-year-old boy from Kashmir with the prestigious Shaurya Chakra for fighting militants in Shopian district.
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
Award for bravery
The youth, Irfan Ramzan Sheikh, was awarded the third highest peacetime gallantry award which is usually conferred upon armed forces and para-military personnel for their show of courage in the face of an enemy. Reportedly, during the intervening night of October 16 and 17 in 2017, militants had cordoned off Irfan’s house. When he opened the door of his house, Irfan found three militants, armed with rifles and grenades standing outside.
Irfan is the eldest son of Mohammad Ramzan, a former sarpanch with connections to Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party.
The citation of the award reads, “Sensing that the militants could harm his family, he exhibited highest degree of courage and faced the militants for sometime to avoid their entry inside the house. In the meantime, his father came out and the militants pounced on him, resulting in a scuffle.” Without fearing for his own life, Irfan pounced on the militants. His intention was to protect his father and other family members who were inside the house.
The militants resorted to firing which resulted in grievous injuries to Irfan’s father. While his father succumbed to injuries, Irfan refused to give up and continued to fiercely engage with the militants, in which the militant also sustained serious injuries.
When the other militants saw one of their accomplice injured, they tried to flee. However, a determined Irfan chased them, forcing them to leave the body of the fellow militant behind. The citation further said that Irfan has shown extraordinary bravery and maturity even at a young age. Irfan, currently a class X student aspires to become an Indian Police Service Officer.
Rampant militancy has become a norm in the Kashmir valley where radicalised youths join their cause while defying the government. However, the President’s award is perhaps a gentle reminder of the fact while the Kashmir issue is yet to be resolved, its youths are not forgotten. Irfan’s act stands as an example of true grit and unwavering valour. The Logical Indian applauds Irfan for his achievement.