President hands over Ashok Chakra to awardee soldier’s widow

New Delhi, (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday awarded the Ashok Chakra posthumously to Havildar Hangpan Dada for displaying exemplary valour and self-sacrifice while fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir in May last year.

Dada’s sobbing widow Chasen Lowang received the highest peacetime military award from the President on Rajpath during the 68th Republic Day celebrations here.

The guest of honour and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi watched in silence as Mukherjee saluted the courage of the Assam Regiment’s soldier.

Born on October 2, 1979, in Borduria village in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh, Dada was enrolled into 3 Para, Special Force, and was reverted to his parent unit 4 Assam in January 2008.

An Army statement said Dada was always known as a soft-spoken, God-fearing soldier with a resolute will and sharp soldierly skills.

He volunteered to serve in 35 Rashtriya Rifles in March 2016.

On May 27, 2016, the observation post sentry of his company spotted four militants moving into the mountainous folds near his post.

The company commander called Dada and told him to cordon off the militants and prevent their escape.

While he was deploying the stops, Dada came across two militants face to face. Showing swift reflexes, Dada shot dead one militant and grievously injured the other.

The injured militant took cover behind a boulder while two others fled down a nallah.

Dada chased the two militants and killed both. After killing three militants, the soldier began trailing the injured militant. In the ensuing gunfight, Dada was shot in the stomach.

Undeterred by his grievous wound, the valorous soldier instructed his team to surround the militant to prevent his escape, while he charged at the terrorist. Dada suffered a gunshot in the neck and died.

He was posthumously awarded India’s highest peacetime military decoration on August 15, 2016.

Medaram Jathara

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