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Sepoy T S Somnath, 25
Khadangali village, Nashik (Maharashtra)
The past few days have been tough on Somnath Thok, an onion farmer. The crash in onion prices after a bumper crop in Maharashtra caused severe heartache to small farmers like Thok, who grows the crop on a three-acre patch of land in Khadangali, in Nashik district of Maharashtra.
The blow from the market, however, was nothing compared to the shock he got on Sunday, when he was informed about the death of his son Sandip, 25. Sitting among relatives, Thok kept largely silent.
“Sandip’s memory will remain like a millstone around our necks,” said Dhyaneshwar Chavanke, Sandip’s brother-in-law. Sandip was the youngest of four siblings, including two married sisters.
He had served in Bihar and West Bengal and was also part of a force sent to Bhutan. He was deployed to Jammu and Kashmir two-and-a-half months ago.
“He visited the village just before he was deployed in J&K. He was to visit us in Diwali. We were planning to search for a match for him during his visit,” Chavanke said. “How many times will this happen? The government needs to do something to ensure that this does not happen again,” he said.