“I am proud of my son and pray to God that all mothers give birth to brave men who can lay down their lives,’’ 60-year-old Salaam Bhi said.
Her son Imtiaz Ahmad Thokar, the para-commando who was killed in the Sopore gunbattle, had faced death before. He was part of the Taj operation in Mumbai in 2008.
However, the mother who had just lost a young son fighting militants in the north Kashmir, could not put up the brave facade for long.
“He was the youngest of all my children and hence my favourite, I am going to miss him a lot,” she added, tears rolling down her face.
“My son was a true Muslim and he died serving his country. I am proud of him and he is a true martyr,” Imtiaz’s father Nazir said, trying to console his wife.
All Imtiaz’s three brothers are in the army.
Thousands of people attended his last rites. He was laid to rest amid slogans like “Narayi Takbir Allah O Akbar” (Slogan of faith — God is great) and “Shaheed Imtiaz Zindabad”.
“We are here to honour a martyr and will be here to help the family now and always,” said Brigadier Anil Pandey of 44 Rashtriya Rifles, who was present with his contingent and presented the guard of honour.
Denied last respects
Highly decorated serving army officers, led by a brigadier in a wheelchair, were not allowed to pay their last respects to a fallen comrade at the domestic airport on Wednesday.
Eight officers, including a major general, turned up at the airport for a final salute to 27-year-old Captain Davinder Singh Jass, the daredevil commando who died fighting the terrorists in Sopore on Tuesday.
Brig S.K. Razdan, confined to a wheelchair, pleaded with the CISF guards and airport staff for more than an hour to let the officers in.
CISF DIG Udayan Banerjee, responsible for airport security, said, “With due respect to these decorated officers, we only recognise the passes issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.”