The Border Security Force (BSF) jawan who died in Pakistan shelling in Kashmir’s Rajouri sector had last gone home more than three months ago, but wasn’t willing to leave his brothers-in-arms in this time of turmoil at the border.
Head constable Rai Singh Indora, 39, died after being hit by a mortar shell from across the border on Sunday night. He is survived by his wife, Sunita, and three sons — Hitesh, Paras and Karamvir.
“His one month leave was pending. He used to say, ‘vo bhi to mere bhai hain... unhe akela kaise chor dun’ (The other soldiers are my brothers too. How can I desert them?),” said his brother, Ramesh, who retired from the BSF in April.
In fact, it was his older brother’s footsteps that Rai followed to join the BSF. And of the seven siblings, Rai was the youngest and the most loved in the family.
“Chutti nai mil rahi (I’m not getting leaves)... is all he would say when we spoke on the phone,” recalls his widow, Sunita, at his native village Kheri Sampla in Rohtak.
Though Rai was posted far from home, he never failed keep in touch with his children, calling them up to thrice a day.
“He didn’t talk much; always asked if we were fine and how we were doing in studies. We spoke to him yesterday (Sunday) evening. That time he had agreed to take us to trade fair soon,” says Hitesh, 16, the oldest of the three.
Losing his father has particularly affected 14-year-old Karambir. “I wanted to be a soldier, but now I want to become a doctor because I want to take care of my mother,” he says.
Inconsolable relatives expressed great anger against Pakistan for destroying the lives of families of soldiers.
“Everyday we’re hearing news of jawans dying in Pak’s firing. Like this, they will finish our soldiers. What is our government doing? Is it enough to wait for soldiers to die on borders and then give Rs 5-10 lakh to their families? They must remove Pakistan from the world map,” says his sister, Raj.