BENGALURU – Hundreds of people, including army officers, friends and relatives, bid an emotional adieu here Dec. 1 to Major Akshay Girish Kumar, who died in the gun battle two days earlier, when militants attacked an army base near Jammu.
The armed forces gave a 21-gun salute to the mortal remains of the 31-year-old soldier before the last rites with military honors in the city's northern suburb.
Kumar was one of the seven army men, including five soldiers killed in the fierce gunfight inside the Nagrota Cantonment, which also houses the 16 Corps headquarters. Three militants were also killed in the attack.
Earlier in the day, Kumar's mortal remains were flown in from Jammu via New Delhi in a military aircraft to the Yelahanka Air Force station on the city's outskirts.
His parents – retired Wing Commander Girish Kumar and mother Meghana – and his widow Sangeetha and their two-and-half-year-old daughter Naina accompanied the cortege carrying the body.
Besides Karnataka Law & Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra, many senior army and IAF officers and dignitaries paid their last respects and laid a wreath at the coffin draped in the tri-colour.
A special ceremony was held with an army band paying glowing tributes to the slain officer at the air base before the body was taken to his house in Yelahanka for public viewing by hundreds of mourners from across the city.
Jayachandra also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 25 lakh to Kumar's family on the occasion on behalf of the state government.
Bengaluru-born Kumar was with the 51 Engineer Regiment of the Bengal Sappers. He entered the Indian Army after graduating from the National Defence Academy.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and others have condoled Kumar's tragic death.
In Maharashtra, Major Kunal M. Gosavi and Lance Naik Sambhaji Y. Kadam, who were also killed in the Nov. 29 terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir, were cremated with full military honors at their native villages on Nov. 1.
Gosavi, 32, was of Wakhri village of Pandharpur in Solapur, and Kadam, 35, was of Janapur village in Nanded.
Gosavi is survived by his wife, parents and four-year-old daughter Umang, who lit his funeral pyre this afternoon.
Similarly, Kadam's three-year old daughter Tejasvini lit her father's funeral pyre helped by her grieving relatives.
Over 50,000 people turned up for the last rites in both the districts, along with several army officers and jawans, representatives of the state government, legislators, district police officers and local social groups.
Cries hailing their martyrdom as 'Major Kunal Gosavi Amar Rahe', 'Jawan Sambhaji Kadam Amar Rahe' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' rent the air as their funeral corteges were brought to open public grounds in their village this afternoon.
Gosavi had come home for a month's vacation and left to join duty Nov. 26. He was seen off at Pune by his mother Vrunda Gosavi who later stayed back with her elder son.
Early on Nov. 29 morning Major Gosavi was sleeping at his home in Jammu when the terrorists struck.
Born in Wakhri village near the the world famous temple town of Pandharpur in March 1983, Gosavi was educated here. He graduated from the Brihan Maharashtra Commerce College (BMCC).
Hailing from a very poor family of Nanded, Kadam was born in Janapur village and joined the Indian Army as a soldier in 2001.
He is survived by his parents: a security guard father and a domestic laborer mother, wife Sakhubai, and three-year old daughter Tejasvini, all living in Pune.
Posted in the Fifth Maratha Light Infantry, Kadam had sought a posting in Jammu and Kashmir for joining the fight against cross-border terror. He was due to retire around 2018.