Pathankot martyr: With tears and flower petals, Lt Colonel’s village bids him farewell

Niranjan Kumar, who was with NSG's bomb detection squad, made the supreme sacrifice while defusing an explosive from a terrorist's body at the IAF base at Pathankot

Written by Shaju Philip | Elambulassery | Updated: January 6, 2016 3:23 am
Lt Col Niranjan Kumar’s wife in Bengaluru on Monday. (Source: PTI) Lt Col Niranjan’s wife in Bengaluru on Monday. (Source: PTI)

It was an emotional farewell as Lieutenant Colonel Elambulassery Kalarikkal Niranjan, who died in the terrorist attack at the IAF base at Pathankot, was laid to rest with full military honours at his ancestral house here Tuesday.

Niranjan, 32, a member of the NSG’s bomb detection squad, died while defusing an explosive from a terrorist’s body on Sunday.

Chants of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and ‘Niranjan amar rahe’ rent the air during the funeral atop a hill near the house at Kalarikkal in Palakkad district.

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The body of Lt Col Niranjan being taken in a vehicle for public homage (Photo by Shaju Philip)


Earlier in the day, the young officer was given a glowing tribute by the armed forces and a tearful adieu by his widow K G Radhika, who was accompanied by 18-month-old daughter Vismaya. The body was shifted to a local school, where people from all walks of life paid floral tributes to the young officer. Flower petals were strewn on the road while the body was taken in a decorated army truck. The village and nearby areas observed a hartal, put up banners and wore badges as a mark of respect for the officer.

Niranjan’s body was flown from Bengaluru to Palakkad by chopper Monday evening. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other ministers also paid their last respects.


Lt Col Niranjan Kumar, who laid down his life during the Pathankot terror attack Lt Col Niranjan, who laid down his life during the Pathankot terror attack

Niranjan was born and brought up in Bengaluru, where his father E K Sivarajan was employed, but he would visit his ancestral home regularly.

Three years ago, his wedding was held in the village. The last time Niranjan visited the family here was during Onam last September. Relatives recalled that he had promised to join the 87th birthday celebrations of grandmother Padmavathiyamma in November. But he missed that date, for his final return two months later.

C Vinod, a villager, said, “We all knew that there was a young pattalakkaran (army man) at Kalarikkal. But we did not know he was a Lt Col who worked with the elite NSG.”

At Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan’s funeral in Palakkad on Tuesday. PTI At Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan’s funeral in Palakkad on Tuesday. PTI

Sushuma, another resident, said, “The brave soldier and his supreme sacrifice has given our village a new identity. We are all mourning the loss of the family. Niranjan’s brother Sarath Chandran is a squadron leader with the Air Force,” she said.



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  1. C
    Jan 5, 2016 at 8:46 am
    Proud to be a Keralite
    1. S
      Jan 5, 2016 at 7:38 am
      Lt. Col. Niranjan died on duty. His job was his pion and choice. And his death due to absolute security lapse. Not one or two people, but an entire security system at the place where the terrorists entered, was a complete failure or there was no such system at all. We have today a government that talks a lot. Imagine how these people would have reacted if such an incident happened when their opposition in power !!!
      1. R
        Rajeev Chandran
        Jan 5, 2016 at 10:03 am
        I'm very proud to be an Indian and a keralite. Lt. Col. Niranjan's sacrifice for our mother land cannot be forgotten. He and those who had sacrificed and those who are still protecting our country from those evil and unwanted elements are our real heroes. I humbly request the government and the people (this includes me)to do all necessary help and protection for the family since it is our responsibility towards him. Because of people like him we are living at peace. I salute Lt. Col. Niranjan, BSF and Indian Army. Jai Hind.
        1. S
          Jan 6, 2016 at 12:02 am
          One gets highly emotional to see funeral of soldiers. At least in their death we accord them the respect they are enled for their life time's commitment. The last salute offered by their comrades in arms, police force, sloganeering large numbers of emotional bystanders and last but not the least the political VVIPs appear very appropriate. But do we ever think why the dedicated officer Col Niranjan, who was son, father, husband and brother of some real living people died in first place? • He died because there were no sophisticated equipment like robots. • He died because the terrorists could easily penetrate the parameter of the air base. • He died because the airbase did not probably have electronic surveillance system and camera all along the parameter. • He died because the terrorists could comfortably select their target as they could roam freely for 24 hrs in Punjab after manhandling the comedian SP of Punjab police. • He died because the terrorists allegedly entered through the drug routes which are maintained for the drug Mafioso of Punjab. Why those routes were not sealed? Why the SP episode was not taken seriousl;y?Why they terrorists had free run for 24 hours? Why there was no CC cameras or electronic surveillance system all along the air base perimeter? And why there were no robots? It is because our system has rotten to the core. The corrupt political cl and the Baboos are engrossed in looking after their own welfare – how to increase their own ry and allowances and perks. They are not bothered about the welfare of the country – the nation is witness to the fact how the parliament is reduced to some type of circus. It is because of these inefficient and corrupt people Col Niranjan and many more soldiers have died. We Indians would have been happy if the Col was alive and not dead.
          1. S
            Jan 5, 2016 at 7:40 am
            Lt. Colonel Niranjan was a brave son of India. He sacrificed his life as a brave solidier in defending our Motherland. We are all proud of him. In this sad moment our thoughts are with his family.
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