In Jind, the family of Captain Pawan Kumar of 10 Para (Special Forces) waits anxiously for the body of the 23-year-old killed Saturday in a gunbattle with militants in Pampore, J&K — 9 Para’s Captain Tushar Mahajan from Udhampur was the other officer killed in the encounter.
With reservation-seeking Jat protesters erecting blockades across Haryana, the body of Pawan Kumar can’t be brought home by road. For father Rajbir Singh, a Jat himself, the wait is agonising: “The cremation will take place in our village Badhana, 18 km from Jind. We have been told the body will arrive at 10.30 am in a helicopter because there are roadblocks across the state.”
The Army too appealed to the “people of Haryana” to give a “befitting farewell to this brave son of their soil”.
“The mortal remains of the brave martyr will be transported by air to Jind on February 22 as road traffic is disrupted due to the law and order situation in Haryana. The last rites with full military honours is being planned by the Army and state administration at his village tomorrow. The Army appeals to the people of Haryana to extend their full support in giving a befitting farewell to this brave son of their soil,” the Army said in a statement.
Pawan was the only child of Rajbir Singh, headmaster of the Government Senior Secondary School in Badhana, and Kamlesh, also a school teacher.
Born on January 15, 1993, Pawan was commissioned in the Army on December 15, 2013.
So what did the young Captain make of the ongoing agitation? His uncle, who shares the same name as the father, said “not much”. In his last Facebook post, Captain Pawan Kumar wrote: “Kisi ko chahiye reservation, kisi ko azaadi, bhai hamein kuchh nahi chahiye, bhai apni razai (some people want reservation, some freedom, I do not want anything, I have my quilt).”
The father has only one message: “I gave my son to the Army, the nation. Our family is extremely proud of his sacrifice… Give your life for the nation. Do not fight among yourselves.”