India pays homage to 20 soldiers killed in Ladakh face-off
Protest rallies were taken out and candles lit as India paid respects to the 20 Indian Army bravehearts killed in a face-off with China along the disputed border in Ladakh. Some of them had planned celebrations upon their return; some of them had joined the army just two years ago.
Havaldar Sunil Kumar, 34, Patna, Bihar
Sunil Kumar, a resident of Taranagar-Sikaria village in Patna, joined the army in 2002. “He called his wife on June 6 and said the situation was under control in Ladakh,” his brother said. He is survived by his wife Preeti Devi and three children.
Sepoy Chandan Kumar, 24, Bhojpur, Bihar
Sepoy Chandan Kumar joined the army in 2018 at general duty (GD) post. His three younger brothers are also in the defence services. Chandan’s father, Hridyanand Singh, a farmer, said Chandan was supposed to get married next year.
Sepoy Kundan Kumar, 27, Saharsa, Bihar
Kumar was a resident of Aran in Saharsa district of Bihar. He had joined the Army in 2012. His father, Niminder Yadav, said “I appeal to every Indian to join the Army to protect every inch of Indian Territory,” he said. He is survived by his wife Baby Devi.
Sepoy Aman Kumar, 27, Samastipur, Bihar
Aman was a resident of Sultanpur village of Samastipur district. His father, Sudhir Kumar Singh, said, “He had called a few days ago and inquired about our well-being. We are proud of his sacrifice,” he said. Aman is survived by his wife, Mintu.
Sepoy Jai Kishore Singh, 22, Vaishali, Bihar
Jai Kishore Singh of Chakfateh village in Vaishali joined the Army in 2018. Before leaving for the border in March, Jai told his family that he will not be able to contact them due to poor network connectivity, his relatives said.
Naib Subedar Satnam Singh, 42, Gurdaspur, Punjab
Satnam Singh is survived by his parents, wife Jaswinder Kaur (40) and two children. “I will take revenge for my brother’s martyrdom...,” said his brother, Subedar Sukhchain Singh (40), who is currently posted in Hyderabad.
Naib Subedar Mandeep Singh, 49, Patiala, Punjab
Mandeep Singh joined duty about 20 days ago after a two-month leave. “We lost everything,” said his mother. Singh is survived by his 70-year-old mother Shakuntala Devi, wife Gurdeep Kaur (37), daughter Mehakpreet Kaur and son Jobanpreet.
Sepoy Gurbinder Singh, 22, Sangrur, Punjab
Gurbinder Singh joined the army in 2018 after passing out from school. “We were planning his marriage on his next leave expected in the next two months,” said his elder brother Gurpreet Singh. He is survived by his parents and two siblings.
Sepoy Gurtej Singh, 23, Mansa, Punjab
Gurtej Singh had planned a grand party upon his return to his village to celebrate his elder brother Gurpreet Singh’s wedding, which took place on Monday. As celebrations were on, Gurpreet got a call from officials informing about Gurtej’s death.
Sepoy Ganesh Handsa, 22, West Singhbhum, J’khand
Handsa was the sole bread-earner of his family of daily wagers, who worked in fields and took up MGNREGA work to ensure that Handsa received education. “We don’t know how this darkness will be cleared,” said his elder brother Dinesh Handsa.
Sepoy Kundan Kumar Ojha, 32, Sahibganj, Jharkhand
Ohja, a resident of Dihari village in Sahibganj, joined the army in 2011. He is survived by his wife, Namita, and a 17-day-old daughter. “He promised that once tension along India-China border eases, he would come to see Diksha,” Mukesh, Kundan’s brother, said.
Sepoy Chandrakanta Pradhan, 28, Kandamal, Odisha
Pradhan got his posting in Ladakh in February. “He was crying over phone and asked for forgiveness if he had ever hurt me. He asked me to look after my family ..(he) said a war may start,” said Sandhayarani, his sister. They had last spoken on June 1.
Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren, 43, Mayurbhanj, Odisha
Nuduram Soren, a Santhali tribal hailing from Champauda village, joined the army in 1997. His wife and three daughters have not been informed about his death, his younger brother, Daman, said. “I don’t think she (his wife) can bear the loss,” he said.
Colonel B Santosh Babu, 37, Hyderabad, Telangana
Mortal remains of Colonel Bikkumalla Santosh Babu were flown to Hyderabad on Wednesday. He is survived by his wife, Santoshi, two children, and his parents, B Upender and Manjula. “He told me he might get relieved in September once pandemic subsides,” Upender said.
Havaldar K Palani, 40, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
The last call that Palani made to his wife, Vanathi Devi, was on June 3. That was his 40th birthday. He was set to retire next year after 22 years. He dropped out of college at 18 and joined the army to support his family. He is survived by his two children, parents and two siblings.
Havaldar Bipul Roy, 36, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh
Roy was a native of Bhatibare village of Jalpaiguri district in north Bengal but moved to Meerut city a few years ago. He was posted in Ladakh about a month ago. “He came home in December 2019 and that was when we last met. I am proud of him,” said Bipul’s cousin, Rajib Roy.
Lance Naik Deepak Kumar Rewa, Madhya Pradesh
Deepak Kumar was a resident of Faranda village near Bhopal. He is survived by his wife, father, grandmother and brother. Deepak promised to return once the lockdown was lifted, his family said. “I didn’t know he would never come back,” said Deepak’s grandmother.
Sepoy Rajesh Orang, 26, Birbhum, West Bengal
Rajesh joined the army in 2015, and was the sole earner in his family. He is survived by his father, mother and two sisters. “I am proud of my son. My only request to the Indian Army is that they should give a befitting reply to China and avenge the killing of Indian soldiers,” said his father.
Sepoy Ganesh Ram, 27, Kanker, Chhattisgarh
Ganesh joined the Army in 2011 and was expecting a new posting, said his uncle, Tiharu Ram Kunjam. He is survived by his parents and two sisters. “In January, his parents fixed his marriage …He was going to be married on his next visit,” said Surya Nevendra, Ganesh’s friend.
Sepoy Ankush, 21, Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh
Ankush, who was recruited in the Punjab regiment in 2018, was on his first posting to Ladakh. His uncle, Sunil Kumar, said he last visited home about 10 months ago. “He has attained martyrdom serving the nation…there is also a grief that he was too young to go,” his father said.
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