His inspiration was Param Vir Chakra awardee Captain Manoj Pandey, a Kargil martyr, and on Sunday, Captain Sunil Choudhary met the same fate in Assam.
Thousands gathered for the cremation, done with full military honours, at Kathua’s Shaheed Joginder Nagar area on Tuesday to bid their local boy farewell. His body had been flown in a special aircraft from Dibrugarh to Pathankote from where it was brought to Kathua.
Captain Choudhury died fighting ULFA militants in Assam’s Tinsukhia district on Sunday afternoon. Just a day before, on Republic Day, the Captain had received the gallantry award Sena Medal for eliminating three ULFA militants in July 2007.
“He has done heroic action and became like Manoj Pandey, who was his idol and was also from the 7/11 Gorkha Regiment,” said his father Lt Col Pyare Lal Choudhary. “He dropped MBA in the first semester and was inspired by the martyrdom of Manoj Pandey of the Kargil War in 1999 and joined the army.”
Captain Choudhury, who was supposed to get married on March 9, had called up his family and fiancée Monica on Saturday to tell them about the award. “‘Are you happy mom?’ he asked on Saturday,” recalled his mother Satya, tears welling up in her eyes. “He again called us just before he left for his last operation and told me, ‘I am in hurry and will call you when I return’.”
His brothers — Flying Officer Ankur Choudhary and engineering student Rahul Choudhary — had sent him congratulatory e-mails. He hadn’t even read those, she added.
“Who knew it was going to be his last operation, in which too he succeeded, killing two militants before attaining martyrdom,” said the Captain’s aunt. His parents remember a pair of Ray Bans Captain Choudhury showed them proudly, a gift from his General-officer-Commanding 2nd Mountain Division after his success last year.
Villages in Kathua, 80 km from Jammu City, are dotted with memorials for martyrs. One of them is Sepoy Joginder Singh Choudhary, also from Captain Choudhury’s fraternity, on whose name the area was called Shaheed Joginder Nagar.