Hundreds of people on Monday thronged the BEL grounds in Bengaluru to pay homage to Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan Kumar, who lost his life during the combing operations in Pathankot.
A member of the National Security Guard’s Bomb Disposal Squad, Kumar was killed in the “mopping up operations” on Sunday, a day after terrorists struck the airbase, while defusing a grenade found with the body of a terrorist killed by security forces. Four other security men were also injured in the blast.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah also paid tributes to the slain soldier by laying wreaths on his body and said that a compensation will be given to honour his supreme sacrifice.
“Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan has sacrificed his life for the nation. Terrorism is a problem that entire world is facing, all nations must join hands to eliminate this problem,” Siddaramaiah told reporters.
“We are going to give compensation. In Unnikrishnan’s case also we had given compensation of Rs. 30 lakh, even in this case we will give compensation,” he added.
The chief minister was talking about NSG commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who died during the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy and Union home minister Rajnath Singh offered condolences to the family of the NSG officer.
A proud father
His body will today be taken to his home town Palakkad in Kerala, where his last rites will be performed, from Bengaluru later on Monday. Kumar, whose parents hail from Kerala’s Palakkad, was settled in Bengaluru.
The 34-year-old soldier is survived by his wife Dr KG Radhika and two-year-old daughter Vismay.
“I am proud of my son for laying down his life for the country,” Kumar’s father Shivarajan EK told Hindustan Times on Sunday.
He was speaking at his residence in Vidyaranyapura in Thiruvananthapuram. Shivarajan, a retired deputy manager of Bharat Electronics Ltd, said he had last spoken to Kumar when he was being deployed to the airbase on Saturday afternoon.
“He had struggled in his personal as well as professional life. On one hand I have lost him, but, on the other hand, he has made us feel proud. It is a great loss as I feel every year these people are losing their lives. I don’t want to say anything to the government as everything is politicised,” Kumar’s sister said after his body was taken to Bengaluru.
Since he was a little boy, Kumar wanted to join the army. He joined the Madras Engineering Group on a Short Service Commission (SSC) 12 years ago and stayed on for a permanent commission. He joined the NSG 22 months ago.
Shivarajan added that his older son, Sarath, is a Squadron Leader in the IAF.
Kumar’s remains would be taken to the Elambassery village in Palakkad for last rituals.
“His 88-year-old grandmother, who he was very fond of, lives in our ancestral house there,” Shivarajan said.
The NSG officer was among the seven security personnel killed in the terrorist attack at the Pathankot air base, where heavy firing is still on. Those killed included Commonwealth shooting gold medallist Fateh Singh and Garud commando Gursevak Singh.