A sea of humanity descended on Meerut streets Tuesday morning when the body of Ajay Kumar Singh, 27, a sepoy of 55 Rastriya Rifles who was killed in an encounter with terrorists in Pulwama Sunday night, was carried in a procession for cremation. Anti-Pakistan slogans rented the air as his two-and-half-year-old son lit his pyre at the ground of the college from where Ajay passed his intermediate in 2010.
The body of Ajay was brought to Meerut Monday night and was taken to the military hospital at Meerut Cantonment from where it was taken in procession around 8am Tuesday. The body, wrapped in tricolour, was first taken to his hometworn, Basi Tikari, and then to the Chaudhary Charan Singh Inter College in Patla. Men, women and children thronged the route, showering rose petals and shouting, “Ajay Kumar amar rahe”.
“He was a very good shooter and was involved in nearly a dozen anti-terrorist operations carried out by the Army in the valley but the one in Pulwama claimed his life. I got a call informing about his death at around 4am on Monday but could not muster the courage to pass it on to his family. However, when I reached his house, they had already got the information,” said Anil, Ajay’s childhood friend.
“My son sacrificed his life for the country but it will not deter us. My grandson (Ajay’s son, Aarav) will also serve the Indian Army one day like his father,” said Veerpal Singh, who is also an ex-serviceman.
“We should pay back Pakistan in the same coin so that other mothers don’t face such loss,” said Kamlesh, Ajay’s mother. Ministers, legislators and MPs visited the family. The villagers handed over a memorandum to Union Minister Satya Pal Singh requesting that the link road to their village be named after Ajay.