Peace - that's the message of EK Sivaranjan, father of Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan Kumar, who was martyred on Sunday in Punjab's Pathankot air base. "We need peace... Let's not go for violence and horrible things," said the 67-year-old Mr Sivarajan, who brought his son's body, wrapped in the Indian tricolour, to Kerala's Palakkad, their hometown, where the funeral is expected to be held on Tuesday.
A bomb disposal expert, Lieutenant Colonel Kumar, 34, was killed while defusing a grenade during the mop-up operations at the air base, where terrorists had launched a pre-dawn attack on Saturday. Four jawans were also injured in the grenade blast; one of them is in serious condition. The martyr's body was first taken to Bengaluru, where the family had stayed for years. Brother officers, school children and politicians were among those who paid tribute at the family home in Doddabommasandra. A gregarious person, Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan Kumar was popular in the area, his neighbours said.
"My son always wanted to join the army since his childhood... I am very proud that he has done his job well," said Mr Sivarajan, who is a retired BHEL official. The officer was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the elite NSG a few months ago. He is survived by his father, his wife Dr KG Radhika, a dentist, and a two-year-old daughter.
Lieutenant Colonel Kumar was one of the seven security personnel martyred in Pathankote, where the operation is still on.
The last rites for Commonwealth gold medallist Fateh Singh were conducted at his village in Punjab's Gurdaspur today. The 51-year-old was in Pathankot as part of the Defence Security Corps, a unit staffed by veterans who are no longer in active service. Commando Gursevak Singh was cremated with full military honours at his village near Ambala in Punjab. He was shot as the gun battle had started, but continued to fight till he died. The commando had joined the Garuds six years ago after his graduation. He got married only 45 days ago.
Five terrorists have been killed in the ongoing operations at Pathankot, but sources have not ruled out the presence of others.