Slogans hailing Indian Forces crush eerie calm as mortal remains of martyr consigned to flames

IAF officers offering salute to their martyr colleague at R S Pura in Jammu on Saturday. — Excelsior/Rakesh
IAF officers offering salute to their martyr colleague at R S Pura in Jammu on Saturday. — Excelsior/Rakesh

Sanjeev K Sharma
JAMMU, July 30: The eerie calm that prevailed in Mehlu hamlet in R S Pura since yesterday, after the news of martyrdom of a son of the soil serving in Indian Air Force (IAF) broke, was crushed by slogans hailing Indian Defence Forces as the mortal remains of the IAF pilot were today consigned to flames with full military honours at a crematorium in Mehlu when martyr’s younger brother Harshat Bal lit the funeral pyre.
Flight Lieutenant, Advitiya Bal, 26, along with IAF Wing Commander, M. Rana from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh were martyred in MIG crash in Rajasthan on the night of July 28, 2022.
Otherwise lesser known, the hamlet Mehlu in R.S Pura area of Jammu district in J&K Union Territory came into limelight on July 29, 2022 after the news of martyrdom of Advitiya Bal broke.
As the people came to know that mortal remains of the martyr IAF pilot are arriving at his native hamlet today, they started visiting his village to pay their respect to the braveheart.
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Number of vehicles carrying officers and other personnel of Army, IAF, Police, civil administration besides politicians, journalists and others thronged R.S Pura roads en-route Mehlu-a hamlet with nearly 400 houses where people are mostly engaged in agriculture tasks with few youth having joined the Indian Army.
Jinder and Mehlu, now being taken in news jointly, are adjoining but distinct villages in R.S Pura
Seema Devi-Sarpanch Jinder Mehlu informed that the martyr is survived by a younger brother along with parents and grandparents-all of which were inconsolable.
“Advitiya had joined IAF in 2014 and his schooling was done at Sainik School Nagrota,” she maintained adding that his father Swaran Bal and uncle Karamveer also served the Army.
Earlier, the mortal remains of the martyr pilot today arrived in a service aircraft at Air Force Station in Satwari from where the same were taken to his home in a decorated vehicle escorted by a long cavalcade of vehicles and Tri-Colour fixed bikes.
Air Commodore, G.S Bhullar; Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar; Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Avny Lavasa; SSP Jammu, Chandan Kohli and others laid wreath on the mortal remains of the martyr.
The funeral procession also had many ex-servicemen and all were discussing that the Government should stop using the fleet of ageing MIG jets which has so far claimed lives of many pilots.