On Saturday, the last rites of the CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack were performed after thousands joined the funeral processions in different parts of the country. Amongst the sea of people were family members, neighbours, villagers, Union Ministers, State Chief Ministers, local leaders and even strangers who flocked to pay homage to the brave ones. Amid the sense of solidarity and outrage, coffins of the CRPF jawans, draped in tricolour, began arriving at their native places across the country.
Bodies of 12 slain CRPF personnel out 40, in the Pulwama attack, were laid to rest with full state honours across Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.
Tens of thousands of people across Uttar Pradesh raised slogans praising the bravery of the fallen soldiers and hailing the motherland. The atmosphere was similar during the funeral of other CRPF jawans from the state in Maharajganj, Agra, Mainpuri, Chandauli, Kanpur Dehat and Unnao district.
Over 2 lakh people gathered in Unnao district, where CRPF officer Ajit Kumar was laid to rest with full state honours.
“We had not expected this crowd,” said Unnao District Magistrate Devendra Kumar Pandey told The Indian Express
Among those present were Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, UP Minister Brajesh Pathak, UP Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, BJP MLA Pankaj Gupta, Samajwadi Party MLC Sunil Singh Sajan and Rajya Sabha MP from BJP Ashok Bajpai.
UP government has announced Rs 25 lakh ex-gratia each and a job to one family member of the 12 CRPF personnel from the state killed in the attack.
Many marched with the tricolour for the final journey of the five CRPF jawans from Rajasthan, who were cremated with full state honours in their native villages on Saturday.
Markets remained closed in Jaipur, Churu, Pali, Jhunjhunu and at several other places in Rajasthan which accounted for highest casualties in the suicide attack after Uttar Pradesh, news agency PTI reported.
Rangolis with words like “Jai Jawan” and “Rohitash Lamba amar rahe” were drawn on the lanes of Govindpura Basri village in Jaipur district, where people converged around an open field, a few hundred metres away from the house of Rohitash Lamba, among the CPRF personnel killed in the Pulwama attack.
“He was married just 15 months ago and has a two-month-old son who will never know his father now. Whenever he came home, he would play with the youngsters in the village…they were very fond of him,” said Manohar Lal, Lamba’s cousin told The Indian Express.
Punjab’s Gandiwind village of Tarn Taran district and Dinanagar town of Gurdaspur on Saturday bid adieu to CRPF head constables, Jaimal Singh and Sukhjinder Singh, who were killed in the Pulwama terror attack with full state and military honours.
Jaimal Singh, 44, was driving the bus which was blown up by the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber.
Dinanagar residents, however, were not satisfied with Rs 12 lakh compensation and a government job for a family member of the victims.
A villager, Jagvinder Singh, speaking to The Indian Express said it is a small amount. “The family has lost its only earning member. They must be given Rs 1 crore as was given to the kin of Sarabjit who was killed in a Pakistan jail.”
Punjab Cabinet minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, BJP leader Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, Rajya Sabha member Vijay Goel, MLAs from Tarn Tarn Dharmbir Agnihotri, Harminder Singh Gill, Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Zira MLA Kulbir Singh, Deputy Commissioner Pardeep Sabrwal and senior CRPF officials were amongst those who attended the last rites.
Jammu & Kashmir
A pall of gloom descended on Dudasunballa village of the border district as the tricolour wrapped coffin carrying the mortal remains of the jawan, head constable Naseer Ahmad, reached his village for last rites on Saturday.
As the last rites were performed, the Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh, adviser to the Governor K K Sharma, BJP MP Jugal Kishore, the CRPF I-G were among many senior politicians and officials present.
Jitendra Singh has assured the family all help from the government.
Thousands gathered as the bodies of Bablu Santra and Sudip Biswas arrived at Kolkata airport yesterday. The bodies were placed on a raised platform, allowing the crowd to pay their respect. Following this, they were taken to their native villages.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee led a candle march from Hazra crossing in south Kolkata to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Mayo Road. “Sometimes, the country is in crisis and it is our duty to get together. But during these situations, we will have to take into confidence people of all castes, creeds and religions. Terrorists are terrorists. They don’t have any religion. Terrorists must be condemned as terrorists,” the Bengal CM said.
“We do not want war. Many wives like me will lose their husbands. Many daughters like mine will lose their fathers. But I want those guilty to be punished,” said Mita (32), the wife of personnel Bablu Santra said to The Indian Express
The last rites of Mohan Lal, an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) with the CRPF, and constable Virendra Singh, were performed on Saturday in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar district, respectively.
Before being taken to Haridwar for the last rites, Mohan Lal’s body reached Dehradun, where his family resides in a two-room rented house. State Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat also reached to pay homage. “We are with you, and we will provide the family all the help that we can. The government will avenge the killings,” Rawat said.
In Udham Singh Nagar district, Virendra Singh’s funeral pyre was lit by his two and a half-year-old son as sobbing family members and villagers paid their homage.
Union Minister of State for Textiles, Ajay Tamta, who attended the funeral, said, ““It is a sad day for everyone present here…. If terrorists feel that performing such acts will make them stronger, then they are wrong. The entire country is united against such acts of terrorism.”
(With ENS, PTI inputs)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines