LUCKNOW/BENGALURU, Feb 15:
From Harpur in Uttar Pradesh to Gudigere in Karnataka, many villages across the country that send out young men to the armed forces were joined in grief Friday, a day after the suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir.
At many places, grief combined with anger over Thursday’s terror strike that martyred 44 jawans.
“No doubt we are proud that my son gave his life for the motherland but the government should take tough steps against the attackers,” Pankaj Tripathi’s father Om Prakash Tripathi said in Harpur in UP’s Maharajganj district.
“The time for talking is up, it’s time to take revenge, he said.
On the streets, villagers shouted slogans, calling for revenge. Badla lo, badla lo, Pakistan se badla lo, they chanted.
Tempers also ran high in Deoria’s Jaidev Chapia, the native village of 30-year-old Vijay Kumar Maurya.
He left for Jammu only on February 9, after spending time in the UP village with his family which includes a one and half year old child.
“I am proud that my son gave his life for the nation but the Government should give a befitting reply to Pakistan as soon as possible,” his father Ramayan Maurya said.
“The action should be so strong that Pakistan dare not enter our territory and kill our soldiers ever again,” he said.
In jawan Bablu Santra’s Chakkashi Rajbangshipara village in West Bengal, his wife and mother wailed and his nephew talked of revenge.
“We want the killing of ‘mama’, and those who died with him, avenged. Those behind the cowardly attack must be taught a lesson they don’t forget,” Raghubir Mondal said.
When Santra came home on leave a month and a half back, he had urged the nephew to prepare for the test which could land him a job in the Central Reserve Police Force.
Mondal said his uncle was a hard-working man, who lost his father at a young age. As a college student, he supported his family by selling fish.
At Khudawal village in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur district Ashwini Kumar Kachhhi is remembered by some for his smile.
“Martyr Ashwini Kumar always wore a smile on his face whenever he met me,” recalled Vinay Asathi. “He used to encourage the youth of our village to join the armed forces.”
Over the years, the village has lost three men who became soldiers.
CRPF jawan Bhagirath Singh and his brother were raised by their farmer father Parshuram in Rajasthan’s Jaitpur village after their mother died.
He loved guns, village sarpanch Kapur Chand Gurjar recalled.
In a village in Punjab’s Tarn Taran, Sukhjinder Singh also was fond of the uniform.
“He was very patriotic. Since childhood, he wanted to join the armed forces,” said panchayat member Angrez Singh.
“The entire village is in shock and disbelief and there is anger among the people,” he said.
Also from Punjab was Jaimal Singh, said to be the soldier who drove the bus into which a terrorist rammed an SUV packed with explosives.
The jawan had spoken to his wife and five-year-old son over the phone only on Tuesday, his father Jaswant Singh said.
H Guru from Gudigere village in Karnataka’s Mandya district too had called home just hours before the attack.
“I should have spoken to him over phone. He had called me in the morning, but I couldn’t speak to him. I really feel devastated,” his wife Kalavathi said.
Guru was among the jawans who had returned to their unit only days back.
Tilak Raj from Jawali in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra went back to work on Monday, after celebrating the birth of his son last month.
Rajasthan’s Bhagirath Singh left his home just two days back for Jammu and Kashmir. His family never imagined it would be his last visit home, the village sarpanch said.
Pankaj Tripathi left Harpur three days back, wrapping up a two-month vacation with his wife Rohini and a three-year-old son.
On Friday, the family awaited his return – this time it would be in a coffin wrapped in the tricolour.(PTI)