The mutilation of a dead soldier’s body by militants along the Line of Control sparked outrage on Saturday, with his family demanding “decisive action” against Pakistan.
“We want revenge, our army should be given free hand to tackle Pakistan as they (army) said that they are capable to finish Pakistan within 20 minutes,” said Prerna Singh, the 27-year-old widow of sepoy Mandeep Singh, who was martyred near LoC in Macchil sector in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. “The government should take decisive action against Pakistan.”
“How can they see the families of the soldiers mourning their deaths on Diwali?” asked Prerna, who is a head constable in Haryana police and married two years ago.
A pall of gloom descended over the soldier’s native village here soon after the news of his death arrived around 1am on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.
“Mandeep had promised me that he will come on Diwali and we will shift to the new house,” said Nirmla Devi, Mandeep’s mother.
She said the last time Mandeep, who joined the army in 2008 in the first attempt at Kurukshetra, came home was about six months back, and he wanted to come over for Diwali but his leave was cancelled due to tensions on the border.
“Mandeep was very brave and during his visit to the village he used to tell us about incidents at the border and also wanted more youths of our village to join the army,” said Mangat Pal, Mandeep’s friend.
Villagers said Mandeep had constructed a new house on the outskirts of the village as the house they were living in was old and located on a narrow street.
Mandeep’s father Phool Singh is a truck driver and his elder brother Sandeep is unemployed and looks after the family’s one acre land.
“I appeal to the prime minister to allow me to join the army, (as) I want to take revenge of my brother’s death,” Sandeep told Hindustan Times. “I want the heads of 10 Pakistani soldiers in revenge of the murder of my brother.”
Mandeep’s cremation with full state honours will take place on Diwali, on Sunday morning, according to district officials. “The body will reach the village from Ambala in the morning (on Sunday),” Kurukshetra ADC Dharamvir Singh said.
Kurukshetra’s deputy commissioner Sumedha Kataria and several politicians visited the family on Saturday to offer their condolences.
Mandeep is the second soldier from this district to be martyred in the last week. The other was Sushil Kumar, 47, a BSF constable, who was killed in Jammu district.