5 soldiers killed in Kathua from Uttarakhand, their villages in mourning | India News

    IT WAS at a cousin’s wedding in February that the family of 25-year-old Rifleman Adarsh Negi, from Thatti Dagar village in Uttarakhand’s Tehri Garhwal, last saw him. Around 10 pm on Monday, his father Dalbir Singh Negi (53) got the dreaded call: Adarsh, who joined the Army in 2018, was one of five soldiers from the Garhwal Rifles regiment who were killed when militants ambushed their convoy in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday afternoon.

    “It was heartbreaking,” his uncle, Balwant, told The Indian Express. “He always wanted to join the Army. After completing Class 12 from a school in the village, he went to Srinagar for his B.Sc. However, just two years into his graduation, he left his studies and joined the Army.”

    Balwant said Adarsh’s death comes just a couple of months after the death of his cousin, Major Pranay Negi (33). According to him, the Army officer, who was serving in Leh, died on April 30 after he fell ill.

    The other soldiers who were killed in Kathua – all from Uttarakhand — have been identified as Naib Subedar Anand Singh Rawat from Kandakhal village in Rudraprayag district, Havildar Kamal Singh from Papri village in Pauri Garhwal, Naik Vinod Singh from Chaund Jaspur in Tehri Garhwal, and Rifleman Anuj Negi from Dobariya village in Pauri Garhwal.

    As their bodies were brought back to the state on Tuesday evening, grief reverberated through their villages.

    Festive offer

    Adarsh is survived by his father Dalbir, mother Guddi Devi (47) and two siblings – Anjali (30), and Abhishek (27). His body will be taken to the banks of the Alaknanda for the last rites.

    At Kandakhal village, residents converged at the house of 41-year-old Anand Singh Rawat to offer condolences to his family — his mother Mauli Devi, wife and two sons aged 16 and 13 years.

    It was Laxman Singh Bijwan, head of Kandakhal village, who broke the news to the family. “After the death of his father around seven years ago, Anand and his older brother Kundan Rawat took care of the family,” said Bijwan.

    In Tehri Garhwal’s Chaund Jaspur village, Vinod Singh’s father, Veer Singh (65), and mother, Shashi Devi (60), were in shock. The soldier is survived by wife Neema Devi and two young children — a four-year-old son and a three-month-old daughter.

    “He has three sisters,” his uncle, Kirti Singh Negi, said. “He last visited the family three months ago and stayed for over 40 days. Little did we know that it was the last time we would see him.”

    According to a PTI report, Kamal Singh from Papri village is survived by his mother, wife and two daughters aged eight and four years. The 32-year-old Singh, who had just completed 10 years in service, had come home two-and-a-half months ago to get his youngest daughter admitted to school, a villager told PTI. His father died a few years ago.

    While receiving the bodies of the soldiers at Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport on Tuesday evening, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said: “The terrorists guilty of this cowardly attack, the enemies of humanity, will not be spared at any cost and the people who shelter them will also have to face the consequences. Uttarakhand is the land that gives birth to brave soldiers. The soldiers here have always discharged their national duty by sacrificing their lives in the service of Ma Bharti.”

    Major General R Prem Raj, GOC, Uttarakhand Sub-Area, led the wreath-laying ceremony at the airport, which was attended by ministers, officials as well as local residents.

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