“I am leaving for a special operation. Do not worry, I will be back and talk to you later,” Ajay Kumar Singh (27), a sepoy with the 55 Rashtriya Rifles, told his wife Priyanka (22) in what would be the couple’s last conversation, in Basa Tikri village under Jani police station area in Meerut.
His family was told on Monday morning that Ajay was killed during an encounter with militants in Pulwama.
As word spread, senior officials and local residents from nearby villages rushed to Ajay’s house to pay their last respects.
“He went back to join duty on January 30 after spending his one-month leave with his parents, wife and two-and-a-half-year-old son Aarav. His elder brother Abhay(30) died seven months ago following prolonged illness while his younger sister is married,” said Subhash Atri, in-charge of Jani police station.