SEPOY VIKAS JANRAO UIKE, 26
NANDGAON (KHANDESHWAR) TOWN, AMRAVATI (MAHARASHTRA)
“HE was the old man of the family,” said Babytai Uike (50) as she described her 26-year-old son, Sepoy Vikas Janrao Uike, who was killed in the Uri terror attack. Inconsolable, the mother recounted how Vikas would deposit Rs 10,000 every month without fail to help out the family.
“He helped from his earnings to marry his sister, Priti. Recently, his younger brother was engaged. Vikas, who visited us just a month back, had promised that he and his brother would get married in the same pandal and that he would select a bride for himself soon. But that is not going to happen now,” said Babytai.
As relatives and friends thronged the Uike family’s three-room house in Omkarkheda area of Nandgaon (Khandeshwar) town, Janrao (59) said he was upset that his son decided to be a soldier against his advice. Asked why, the father, who himself retired from Army last October after 34 years with the armored division, said: “Because, I have lived that dangerous life myself.” He added: “Joining the Army was his shauk.”
Till 7 am Monday, the family had no inkling about Vikas’s death when a news flash on a TV channel’s ticker feed showed his name. Subsequently, telephone calls from the SP and the Collector confirmed the news. “He had gone there just 20 days ago. It is so sad that they had to die while getting ready in the morning,” said the father, who blamed the tragedy on “laparwahi” (negligence) on the part of young soldiers.
“They should have been more careful and not moved about carelessly,” he said. Asked if he wanted the government to give a befitting reply to Pakistan, he said: “That is not a big thing. Mutthime pakadke fek sakte hain.”
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At a little distance, outside a specially erected pandal, people gathered in large numbers to pay tributes in front of a large hoarding with Uike’s photograph.
As the conversation shifted to Pak-sponsored terror, Uike family’s neighbours, Lakshman Thavkar and Vinod Sune, said: “Attacking Pakistan is no solution. We must formulate a sagacious response.”