Captain Pawan Kumar who died fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday was a Jat from Haryana and associated with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), focal points of two different stirs shaking the country.
For the 23-year-old soldier enlisted with the army’s 10 Para (Special Forces) all that mattered was love for the country and not calls of “azadi” on campuses or the Jat demand for reservation in jobs and colleges.
“Kisiko reservation chahiye to kisiko azadi bhai. Humein kuchh nahin chahiye bhai. Bas apni razai. (Some want reservation and some independence, I don’t want anything, brother, I want only my quilt),” he posted on Saturday.
He came under a hail of bullets when he was leading troops into a three-storey building of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute by the Jhelum in Pampore on Saturday night. About four terrorists were hiding there.
“The officer was an inspiring leader who in spite of being wounded earlier in an anti-terrorist operation, went on to volunteer for more,” a statement from the army’s Northern Command said.
But this patriot cannot travel by road in his last journey home to his village in Jind because Haryana is in a state of lockdown with thousands of Jats demanding reservation have burned property and blocked roads.
The army appealed to people of Haryana to extend full support in giving a befitting farewell to Kumar. “The mortal remains of the brave martyr will be transported by air to Jind on February 22 as the road traffic is disrupted … The last rites with full military honours is being planned by the army and state administration at his village tomorrow,” a statement said.
Born on Army Day (January 15), 1993, Kumar was the only child of Rajbir Singh, the headmaster of a senior secondary school in Jind. “I had one child. I gave him to the army. To the nation. No father can be prouder,” he said.
His JNU connection dates back to his years in the National Defence Academy (NDA), the country’s prestigious military school in Pune that is accredited to the university based in New Delhi.
The degree for the school’s foundation course is conferred by the university, which has become the epicentre of a nationwide campus stir after a JNU student leader was arrested for sedition last week.
“Some courses in the NDA are accredited to the JNU. This means every NDA graduate gets a degree from the JNU,” Srinagar-based military spokesman Colonel NN Joshi said.
The astute, short-haired, clean-shaven young officer in an army mugshot hides a fun-loving personality, with a passion for bikes and cricket.
The Captain was a top Twitter and Facebook trend on Sunday. A photo on social media shows him sporting a long beard and a backpack slung on his shoulders. Another shows him posing with a motorbike. One of his profile pictures posted in 2015 was of his dog Tyson, a Rottweiler.
Capt Tushar Mahajan & Capt Pawan Kumar. (hope your sacrifice inspires all of us to strive for a strong united India) pic.twitter.com/kBhspwT0CJ— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) February 21, 2016
“He was a thin guy, with a Kashmiri-style beard. He was fearless and always up for action. He was keen cricketer,” a soldier said.
With inputs from PTI