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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Martyr’s village proud of its son, wants befitting reply

Hemendra Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times  Mathura, January 10, 2013
First Published: 10:38 IST(10/1/2013) | Last Updated: 10:40 IST(10/1/2013)

Grief and anger were palpable among residents of Kherar Sher Nagar, a sleepy village about 17 km from Kosi in Mathura district on the Agra Delhi highway, when body of Lance Naik Hem Raj, 32, was consigned to flames with full military honours late on Wednesday evening.

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Proud that two Indian soldiers, one from their village, made the supreme sacrifice for the nation, they lashed out at the 'cowardly act' of the Pakistan army, responsible for the brutal killings in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Flushed with anger at Hem Raj's beheading, his elder brother Puran Singh said, “His entire body should have come for the last rites. The Indian government should try and get my brother’s head to maintain the dignity of his body.”

Village head Dharam Veer was more emphatic in demanding direct action. "Our Prime Minister and home minister should act tough and ensure that a befitting reply is given for this cowardly act. There is no room for discussion left and it is time for some tough talking," Dharamveer added. “We are proud of the supreme sacrifice made by the braveheart who was merely 32 years old and always wanted to join the army and serve the nation since his childhood,” said Veer adding the martyr should be given Ashok Chakra.

Hem Raj's five-year-old son Prince lit the funeral pyre amid chanting of slogan "Hemraj amar rahe" at 9.05pm. T he last rites were performed at an open field, where now villagers have decided to erect a 'samadhi' (memorial).

Army unit of Agra gave a guard of honour before the pyre was lit in the village, which lacked basic facilities like roads and power supply. Hundreds of villagers held their cell phones high to provide light to the army vehicle that brought the body home.

Hem Raj is survived by wife Dharmvati, 28, two daughters Nirmal,7, and Shivam 3, son Prince, 5, and mother Meena Devi. Hem Raj was the sole bread earner of the family. He had visited the villages only three months back.

His unemployed younger brother Jai Singh said Hemraj was expected to come to the village on February 7. "We were waiting for his arrival for the construction of the house," he said adding, "his body has come instead."

While the Agra unit of the army brought the body, which was earlier flown from Jammu & Kashmir, army station commander Mathura Brigadier Vinay Dheema arrived to pay tributes to the martyr.

“We are proud of the supreme sacrifice made by the braveheart who was merely 32 years old and always wanted to join the army and serve the nation since his childhood,” said Veer adding the martyr should be given Ashok Chakra.

Hem Raj's five-year-old son Prince lit the funeral pyre amid chanting of slogan "Hemraj amar rahe" at 9.05pm. T he last rites were performed at an open field, where now villagers have decided to erect a 'samadhi' (memorial).

Army unit of Agra gave a guard of honour before the pyre was lit in the village, which lacked basic facilities like roads and power supply. Hundreds of villagers held their cell phones high to provide light to the army vehicle that brought the body home.

Hem Raj is survived by wife Dharmvati, 28, two daughters Nirmal,7, and Shivam 3, son Prince, 5, and mother Meena Devi. Hem Raj was the sole bread earner of the family. He had visited the villages only three months back.

His unemployed younger brother Jai Singh said Hemraj was expected to come to the village on February 7. "We were waiting for his arrival for the construction of the house," he said adding, "his body has come instead."

While the Agra unit of the army brought the body, which was earlier flown from Jammu & Kashmir, army station commander Mathura Brigadier Vinay Dheema arrived to pay tributes to the martyr.

Brig Dhiman consoled all the family members and assured them that the army would extend all help to them.


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