Emotions ran high at the Sree Guru Ram Dass Ji International Airport, as the personal belongings of sailor Atul Sharma, who lost his life in the Sindhurakshak submarine tragedy in Mumbai last month, reached his hometown.
Atul was on board the INS Sindhurakshak, which sank after multiple explosions. In spite of many efforts, his body could not be traced.
Navy officials, Atul's father Hemraj Sharma and other family members reached the airport to receive his belongings.
With moist eyes, Hemraj, a school teacher, said, "I am just speechless. My son was always passionate about joining the Indian Navy and his dream came true four years ago. For us, however, everything is finished now. I cannot even see the body of my son, and will cremate his belongings in its absence."
"Every time he called, he told me about his experiences as a sailor. He was training aboard the submarine, and always talked about it. On the day we heard the news about explosions on board the Sindhurakshak, we all were very afraid. We were keeping our fingers crossed and praying that Atul may have survived, but it was not to be," he added.
Atul's teachers from the local Hindu Sabha School also accompanied Hemraj to the airport. Atul's clothes and other personal effects, wrapped in the national flag, were taken to his house in Tandon Nagar area, and later cremated with full honours.
Navy officials were also present during the cremation. While 18 people were on board the submarine when the tragedy took place, only a few bodies could be recovered.