August 1, 1999
BHUBANESWAR, JULY 31: Amid intermittent drizzle the body of 26-year-old Sepoy Niranjan Behera of 5 Paratrooper Unit of Army covered with the Indian tricolour arrived at the Biju Patnaik Airport here on Friday. Behera was killed on Saturday last at Batalik when the Pakistani artillery shelled the Indian soldiers who were trapped in a field strewn with anti-personnel mines.
As soon as the flight carrying the body of Behera touched the airport tarmac, jawans of the 120 Infantry Battalion of Territorial Army here lowered their guns to give salute to the departed soldier. Wreaths were placed on the casket containing Behera’s body on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff. Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang, State Assembly Speaker Chintamani Dyansamantray and other ministers in the state cabinet also placed wreaths. Though Behera’s family knew of their son’s death, none could come to city.Behera, who hails from Panguda village in Chandbali block of Bhadrak district leaves behind his widow Sandhyarani Behera, afour-year-old son, his ageing parents and elder brother. Youngest son of Akulicharan Behera, a farmer in Panguda village, Niranjan joined Army some six years ago.
Havildar AK Panda of the 5 Paratrooper Unit accompanied the body of Behera from Batalik to Bhubaneswar. “Niranjan was killed along with five others Indian soldiers that day. Nearly 60 soldiers from our side were injured in the Pakistani shelling,” Panda said, looking distraught after his friend’s death. “Though I did not meet him frequently, he was known to be a genial person.”
Rs 300 cr contributed to Defence Fund
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Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Saturday said that Rs 300 crore had been contributed towards the National Defence Fund (NDF) from various quarters so far in view of the Kargil conflict. "The NDF has received Rs 300 crore as contributions. Other funds are also there," the prime minister said addressing a function of the Dav Schools here. Earlier, a cheque of Rs 1.11 crore was presented to him by Dav vice president GB Chopra as contribution towards the NDF from the students and staff. Vajpayee said the gathering and the cheque were evidence that the entire country was devoted and indebted to the soldiers who fought in Kargil.
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