Families of soldiers killed in the Uri terror attack said on Friday that their sacrifice has not gone in vain and that they were satisfied with the “retaliatory action”, a day after India carried out “surgical strikes” along its de-facto border with Pakistan.
The September 18 attack on an Indian Army camp claimed the lives of 19 soldiers. While 17 died on the day of the attack, a critically injured soldier succumbed to his injuries the next day. On Friday, almost a fortnight after the attack, another soldier died at the army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi, succumbing to his injuries and raising the toll to 19.
The fallen soldiers were from Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Most of them belonged to the 6th battalion of the Bihar regiment.
Jharkhand lost two men in the attack -- Javra Munda of Khunti district and Naiman Kujur of Gumla district.
Munda’s wife, Jhingi Dhanwar, said she was happy that the army killed the terrorists in their camps across the Line of Control (LoC). However, she said she was also sad because if such actions were taken earlier she would not have lost her husband.
“The army should continue its drive and kill the terrorists inside the Pakistani occupied territory and in their homes. They should move further inside and strike them,” she said.
Four of the 19 army men killed in a militant attack, that India blames on Pakistan-based militants in the north Kashmir town, belonged to Bihar.
They include Sepoy Rakesh Singh from Baddja village of Kaimur district, naik SK Vidyarthi from Boknari village in Gaya, havildar Ashok Kumar Singh from Raktu Tola village in Piro block of Bhojpur district, and Ara’s naik Raj Kishor Singh.
As they got the news about India’s strike, locals at Rakesh’s villages celebrated by dancing in lanes and shouting slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. “We thank the central government and army for teaching Pakistan a lesson. It is a real homage to our martyred brother,” Jay Prakash, a villager, said.
Kiran Kushwaha, the 25-year-old widow of sepoy Rakesh Singh, was happy that her husband’s colleagues had avenged the terror attack.
“This is a trailer. Modi ji should attack Pakistan and kill all those spreading terrorism in our country, killing innocent people and army jawans,” Kiran said.
Rakesh’s father Harihar Singh, mother Samundra Devi, brothers Bajrangi and Harhangi also expressed similar sentiments.
At Raktu Tola, Sangeeta Devi, wife of havildar Ashok Kumar Singh, said she was satisfied with the “retaliatory action”.
“The sacrifice of my husband has not gone in vain,” she said, adding that she would not hesitate to send her son to the army.
There were four soldiers from Uttar Pradesh -- sepoy Ganesh Shankar, sepoy Rajesh Kumar Singh, sepoy Harinder Yadav and lance naik Rajesh Kumar Yadav -- who were killed in the attack.
Family members of sepoy Rajesh Kumar Singh of Bhakura village in Jaunpur district demanded stricter “punishment” for Pakistan and said more action should follow to teach the neighbouring country a lesson.
“Action by the Indian Army was much needed,” said Rajesh’s father Rajendra Singh. He added that India should destroy all terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Rajesh’s wife Julie Singh said the Centre should immediately sever all ties with Pakistan and added that water from Indus River should also not be given to it.
“The Indian Army should take more massive action against Pakistan so that it couldn’t dare to commit any nefarious act in future,” she said.
The soldier’s elder brother Upendra praised the move and also suggested that the government should carry out similar strikes to destroy more terror camps in Pakistan.
In Ghazipur, many locals gathered at the house of sepoy Harinder Yadav. His father Kedar Yadav said the army should carry out another strike.
In Dubahar village of Ballia, eight-year-old Preeti extended thanks to her ‘fauji uncles’ for avenging the death of her father lance naik Rajesh Kumar Yadav. Yadav’s mother Somaria Devi and brother Vikesh praised the army for its action.
(With inputs from Prasun K Mishra, Prashant Ranjan, Sanjay Sahay)
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