WITH a tearful salute, 10-year-old Rohit Kumar Saturday performed the last rites for his father, BSF head constable Jitendra Singh, even as people in the slain paramilitary official’s native village, Siswa in Bihar’s East Champaran district, decided not to celebrate Diwali this year.
Singh, 45, the only person from his family to serve in the forces, was cremated with full state honours. He was killed at RS Pura Sector of Jammu and Kashmir in shelling from the Pakistani side.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar announced an ex-gratia of Rs 11 lakh for Singh’s family. Archana, 15, eldest of Singh’s three children, said he had spoken with her when he last called home. A Class X student of a Raxaul school, Archana said, “He told me that the situation was very tense there, and that we should not lose heart if something happened to him.”
Archana said she and her sister Priti, 13, want to join the defence forces when they grow up.Singh’s widow Bimla Devi, who stays in Raxaul with Archana and Priti — Rohit is in Class V at a school in Motihari — said, “He always encouraged our children to study hard. He could not take us to his places of posting because they changed so frequently.” She added that it was “high time Pakistan is taught a lesson”. Singh matriculated in 1987 from Hazarimal High School in Raxaul and joined BSF in 1993.