Even as hundreds of people gathered at the cremation grounds in different villages to bid adieu to Himachal's seven bravehearts massacred along with 11 others of 6 Dogra Regiment in Manipur, the coffins carrying the slain soldiers will haunt their kin throughout their lives. With bodies having been mutilated, the kin ostensibly regretted having the last glimpse of the soldiers.
Army officials had instructed the civil administration to ensure that the bodies were not removed from the coffins as they were mutilated, which was also subtly conveyed to the family members.
But the instructions had little impact on the wailing Krishna Devi, mother of Sepoy Manoj Kumar.
She persisted that the army men open the coffin so that she could have a last glimpse of her son. Initially hesitant, the army men finally yielded.
But on seeing Manoj's disfigured body, Krishna and her daughter in-law Pushpa almost fainted. Similarly, kin of sepoy Vikas Bhardwaj, a lone son, were also in for a shock on finding an eye missing. Family of Havildar Parkash Chand found some solace in the fact that the upper body was intact.