Thousands in Jharkhand’s Jamtara came out on the streets on Tuesday to bid a tearful and emotionally surcharged farewell to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Commandant Pramod Kumar, who was killed in the attack by militants in Nowhatta area of Srinagar on the Independence Day.
Kumar’s last rites were performed with full state honours, with Agriculture Minister Randhir Kumar Singh representing the state government. Apart from district administration officials, Director General of CRPF and other top officials from the para-military organisation joined the last journey.
Slain officer’s wife Neha Tiwari said over phone: “My husband always took the lead. He did not wait or believe in having a back-up. He always felt that those providing security had families too and, therefore, there was little point in putting their lives in danger. He was a hero. I am proud of my husband. No matter how much personal pain I am in, it is hard to believe that anybody would find reasons not to salute his sacrifice.”
Kumar’s body arrived around 10 a.m. at his father’s Palbagan residence. Around 11.30 a.m., the body was taken for the last rites in a flower bedecked vehicle. “Our assessment is that there were around 10,000 people in complete solidarity with the departed soul,” said Jamtara Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Singh.
On reports that there was slogan shouting against Pakistan, the SP said that he did not personally hear it, but people were shouting slogans for Kumar. “Some people may have shouted slogans. But the point is that the entire town was emotional and tearful. People came on to the streets and, it was spontaneous,” said Singh.
The final journey, which started around 11.30 am, took nearly four hours to reach the cremation ghat; the distance being barely four km.
Arna, the couple’s seven-year-old daughter, lighted the funeral pyre at the cremation ground on the banks of River Ajay. “There was nobody else who could have done it. My husband’s soul would rest in peace only if she lighted the funeral pyre. She was his life,” said a tearful Neha. Having hidden the news from her daughter till this morning, Neha told her daughter that her father would always be her shadow.
Kumar was slain in an Independence Day attack on a CRPF camp in Nowhatta, Srinagar, just an hour after he had unfurled the Tricolour.
Kumar is survived by his wife, daughter and has left behind 63-year-old father, a retired employee of Chitranjan Locomotive Works.