The body of CRPF commandant Pramod Kumar, who was killed in a gun battle with militants in Srinagar’s old city area of Nowhatta on Independence Day on Monday, reached Mihijam in Jharkhand’s Jamtara district on Tuesday morning.
State agriculture minister Randhir Singh, local Congress legislator Irfan Ansari, district administrative officers and locals flocked to the Central Reserve Police Force officer’s residence at Mihijam to pay their last tributes after his body reached around 10am.
Chief minister Raghubar Das condoled the commandant’s death. “I am deeply saddened. His martyrdom will not go waste,” Das said.
“The cremation is slated on the banks of River Ajay in Chittaranjan, a town three kilometres close to Mihijam in West Bengal. The CRPF director general is scheduled to land at Burnpur airport to reach Mihijam and after his tribute, the body would be taken for cremation,” Jamtara superintendent of police Manoj Kumar Singh said.
Kumar is survived by his wife Neha Tripathy, seven-year daughter Aarna and 63-year old father. He was the only son among five siblings.
The SP said Kumar’s father, a retired employee of Chittaranjan Locomotive Works of the Indian Railways, is paralysed and cannot speak.
Kumar unfurled the national flag at the office of the CRPF’s deputy inspector general in Srinagar’s Karan Nagar area. The officer can be seen saluting the tricolour in pictures accessed by Hindustan Times. The ceremony lasted around half an hour.
In his speech, the commandant asked his men to do their best to uphold the integrity of the country.
CRPF sources said the news of the encounter about three kilometres away in Nowhatta reached the officer around the same time. Kumar rushed with his team to the spot and was shot at an hour later.
He sustained a fatal gunshot wounds in the neck and was rushed to the base hospital in Srinagar in a state of coma. By noon, he was declared dead.
“He was leading from the front, when he was shot,” CRPF spokesperson Bhavesh Choudhary told Hindustan Times.
Choudhary said bullets from Kumar’s weapon might have killed one of the two militants, who were neutralised in the encounter that lasted around four hours.
Kumar joined the force as an officer on January 1, 1998, and married Tripathy in 2008. He served in various capacities in Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu before being posted at Srinagar two years ago.
Promoted as commanding officer of the 49th battalion on July 12, a day before his daughter’s seventh birthday, Kumar was awarded DG’s commendation disc in 2015 and commendation certificate in 2014 for “highest operational acumen” and service.
His death came when he was poised for a new posting after last month’s promotion.