Three of the 17 soldiers killed in a militant attack in north Kashmir’s Uri town belonged to Bihar and their bodies will be sent back to their respective homes for final rites on Monday afternoon, the army said.
The soldiers who died include sepoy Rakesh Singh from Baddja village of Kaimur district, Naik SK Vidyarthi from Boknari village in Gaya and havildar Ashok Kumar Singh from Raktu village in Bhojpur district.
As news spread of the devastating attack – the worst strike on the army in years – a pall of gloom engulfed the villages.
Mathura Yadav, Vidyarthi’s father, was distraught, while his mother Kunti Devi wailed, surrounded by relatives. At Ashok Kumar Singh’s residence, the situation was similar, with friends and relatives arriving to console the bereaved family.
Bihar regimental centre (BRC) commandant Brig N Rajkumar said the soldier’s bodies would be brought to Varanasi and taken to the respective villages by road.
“There has been slight change in the schedule. The route chart that we have got is from Varanasi, where the bodies would be flown in. We are also sending our representatives to Varanasi and working out the logistics,” he said.
“The bodies may arrive in the late afternoon, though we don’t have the exact timing at present.”
There were anxious moments at the BRC on Sunday as visitors started pouring in as soon as the news about the Uri attack broke.
“We didn’t have the exact details. It was a tragic incident and the only piece of information we initially had was about the number of casualties. That was 17 from two regiments - 6th battalion of the Bihar Regiment, and 10th Dogra. Now, we have got some details officially and we are planning accordingly,” said the commandant.
Formed in 1941, the Bihar regiment played a pivotal role to push back Pakistani infiltrators in the 1999 Kargil war.
The regiment has a stellar history of service, resulting in decorations such as the Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra to jawans and officials.
“We salute the martyrs. This is the hallmark of the Indian soldier. He never even blinks, come what may. We pay our heartfelt condolences to the families of martyrs, who laid down their lives in the line of duty,” Rajkumar added.
“A soldier is always prepared for such challenges, which can come up anytime and in any form.”
On August 6, 2013, Bihar Regiment’s 21st Battalion was attacked by Pakistani intruders in Poonch. Five soldiers lost their lives in an attack on an Indian Army post at Chhakan da Bagh along the Line of Control (LoC).