The last rites of Sepoy Sudhesh Kumar, killed in firing by Pakistani troops along the LoC, were performed this evening with full state honours, though Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav did not attend the rituals, as insisted by the martyr’s family. It took much effort from ruling Samajwadi Party leaders and government officials to cajole and pacify the bereaved family to perform the last rites as the CM did not turn up. Hundreds of locals, including from neighbouring villages, bid a tearful adieu to their brave son when his body was being taken to the cremation site in a procession.
The funeral pyre was lit by his brother Anil Kumar in the presence of AD, Rajesh Yadav; SP Balendu Bhushan; and local unit president of Samajwadi Party Firoz Khan, among others. Earlier in the day, the martyr’s father Brahmpal Singh was insisting he would cremate the body only when the CM visits there.
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He had said the CM had gone to a martyr’s house in Etah “as he was a Yadav”, he should also come here as there should not be any discrimination between martyrs. The officials and local SP leaders made all out efforts to get the family agree to the cremation. ADM Yadav said the chief minister has called the family to Lucknow on Thursday for a meeting and they have been informed about this.
He said an assurance has also been given over their other demands like construction of a school and road to the village. Sudhesh Kumar’s mother Santosh Kumari had also demanded a government job for the soldier’s widow. “If we get financial help we will ensure proper education of his four year-old daughter so that she too can join the army and serve the country,” she had said.
DM Bhupendra S Chaudhary said a cheque of Rs 20 lakhs of ex gratia on behalf of the state government will be handed over to the widow. Sudesh, hailing from Sambhal district in the state, was killed when Pakistani Army opened indiscriminate unprovoked firing on Indian Army posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri sector on Sunday.