In one of the rare occasions, President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday awarded Shaurya Chakra to 16-year-old Irfan Ramzan Sheikh for fighting militants who attacked his residence in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Shaurya Chakra is usually awarded to armed forces and paramilitary personnel for “gallantry otherwise in the face of the enemy”.
During the intervening night of October 16-17 of 2017, militants surrounded Sheikh’s house. His father Mohammad Ramzan was an ex-sarpanch with affiliations to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). When Sheikh opened the door, he found three militants in the courtyard of the house armed with rifles and grenades.
“Sensing that the militants could harm his family, he exhibited highest degree of courage and stopped the militants for some time to prevent their entry into the house. In meantime, his father came out and the militants pounced on him, resulting in a scuffle,” the citation for the award read.
Sheikh did not think for a moment for his own safety and confronted the militants to safeguard the life of his father and other family members, it read.
The militants also resorted to indiscriminate firing, resulting in a severe injury to Sheikh’s father. He later succumbed.
However, Sheikh did not lose courage and continued to engage with a militant, who resorted to indiscriminate firing resulting in injuries to a militant.
On seeing one of their associates injured, the militants tried to flee. However, Sheikh chased them.
“Irfan Ramzan Sheikh exhibited the extraordinary show of bravery and maturity at such a yoong age,” the citation read.
Currently, studying in Class X, Sheikh aspires to become an IPS officer.
Note : This article was published in Hindustan Times