Brij Mohan Kushwaha got a call from his brother Manoj Kumar on Tuesday morning. He was asked to find out whether there was a direct flight from Srinagar to Varanasi. Kushwaha, Brij Mohan said on Wednesday, wanted to come home soon and take their mother, bedridden with a fracture in her waist, to the Army Hospital in Lucknow for treatment.
He got a second call from Jammu and Kashmir around 7 pm on Tuesday. He was informed that his 31-year-old brother had been killed “in firing by terrorists”.
He broke down, the whole family suspected what may have happened, and yet they clung on to their last hope. “We hoped that it would be some other Manoj…we called his friends. They confirmed,” Brij Mohan said, sitting on a cot in the family home in Noniyapur village of Ghazipur district, about 110 km from Varanasi.
Manoj Kumar Kushwaha, 31, was one of the three soldiers killed by Pakistanis along the LoC in Kupwara district of Kashmir on Tuesday.
“He was just over three years from retirement,” Brij Mohan said. “He wanted to buy a four-wheeler since he was looking at starting a travel business after repaying the debt we had incurred for our sister’s wedding two years ago.”
The family, he said, has to repay about Rs 2 lakh.
“Our mother has been operated upon twice, and Manoj called from Kupwara yesterday to say that he wanted to have her treated in Lucknow. His leave had been sanctioned…he was also planning to get our house reconstructed during his leave.”
Their present home, with three pucca rooms, was built after Kushwaha had joined the Army as a gunner 2002.
Brij Mohan runs a small electronics shop in the village. Their youngest brother, Arun, studies for a diploma in air-conditioner engineering in Mau.
“My son was attacked from behind. The government should give freedom to the Army to attack Pakistan. Today my son has been killed, tomorrow it would be someone else’s son…he was our only support,” their father, Harilal Kushwaha, said.
Kushwaha’s widow Manju, mother Sheela Devi, 51, and younger sister Priya were inconsolable. His children — Muskan, 7, and Monu, 5 — were yet to comprehend why so many people were visiting them since morning.
“When he was not posted on the border (LoC), he used to call me twice or thrice almost every day, asking me to focus on my studies. People are saying a member of our family has been killed. But he was everything our family had — hamare ghar ka chirag thhe woh (he was the light of our family),” Arun said.
Brij Mohan said, “If they (Pakistani forces) kill one, we should kill 10. Only then will Pakistan understand.”
Kushwaha’s body is expected to reach his village on Thursday, along with that of Shashank Kumar Singh, a resident of Nasiruddeenpur village in Mohammadabad area of the same district.
CM announces Rs 25 lakh aid
Lucknow: Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh each for the two jawans from UP who were killed in Machil sector of north Kashmir. Manoj Kumar Kushwaha and Shashank Kumar Singh, both from Ghazipur, were killed while staging a counter-infiltration patrol.
The CM also announced Rs 25 lakh ex-gratia for the kin of CRPF man Devendra Singh Bhist, who died in a blast triggered by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh. Devendra was from Meerut district. ENS