Amidst slogans such as ‘Saurabh Farate amar rahe’, large number of people from Phursungi and surrounding villages in Pune district on Monday bid tearful adieu to this gunner, who along with two soldiers, was killed by terrorists in Pampore in Jammu and Kashmir. Politicians including BJP MP Anil Shirole, Minister for State Vijay Shivtare and mayor Prashant Jagtap were present for Saurabh’s cremation which was carried out in full military honours.
Survived by wife, twin daughters and parents, Saurabh had joined Indian Army in 2004 and was posted in Jammu and Kashmir. His younger brother Rohit also works with Indian Army and is serving in the valley.
Saurabh, 33, Shashikant Pandey (24) and Ratheesh C (28) attained martyrdom when their convoy was attacked by terrorists on Saturday. Pained by the loss of his son, gunner’s father Nandkumar Farate urged government to end the ongoing tension at the border, which has killed more than 60 Indian soldiers in 2016. “I lost my son…tomorrow someone else may lose their son. The government should ensure that precious lives are saved,” he said.
Earlier mortal remains of the martyred soldier were brought to Lohegaon airport from where they were taken to the gunner’s native village. Also, NCP chief Sharad Pawar visited the family and consoled them.
A pall of gloom descended on Fursungi when the news of Saurabh’s death had reached the village. Neighbours and Saurabh’s friends visited the martyr’s residence and consoled his family members. According to his father, Saurabh had recently returned to duty after spending two months at his native place when he was on leave. He had also celebrated his twin daughters’ first birthday on October 24.
He said before leaving for duty on Saturday morning, Saurabh had spoken on telephone with the family. “On Saturday, I received a call from his unit. However, the person on the other side gave incomplete information and only informed us that Saurabh was shot,” said the bereaved father.
Later, Nandkumar called up his younger son who gave complete information to the family about Saurabh’s killing.