New Delhi: Striking a personal note, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday condoled the death Colonel M N Rai, a commanding officer who died in a gun battle with terrorists, and wrote to his wife telling her she knows what it is to lose a beloved husband to a terror attack.
Gandhi, whose husband and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a terrorist attack at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in May 1991, in a letter to Rai's wife Priyanka, said, "I share your grief with all my heart -- I know what it is to lose a beloved husband to a terrorist attack, and for children to be robbed of the love and guidance of their father at a young age."
At the time of Rajiv Gandhi's death, Rahul and Priyanka were 21 and 19-years-old.
In her condolence message, the Congress President told Rai's wife, "Ever since receiving the news of your brave husband's death, my thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family."
Hailing Col Munindra Nath Rai as a "patriot to the core", Gandhi said that he was a courageous officer who inspired his men by his fearless dedication to duty and his readiness to sacrifice his life for his country.
"He has upheld the finest and most honourable traditions of our armed forces and brought glory to the Indian Army and his regiment. It is most tragic twist of fate that he lost his life just a day after receiving the Yudh Seva Medal....," the Congress President said.
Gandhi told Rai's wife that she must draw strength from the fact that her husband died fighting terrorism and defending his country till his last breath and that his supreme sacrifice and martyrdom will always be honoured.
"He has left you and children this proud and noble legacy," she said.
39-year-old Rai lost his life fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Tral area on January 27, just a day after being awarded Yudh Seva Medal.
He leaves behind his wife, two daughters and a son.
The Commanding Officer was hailed by the Army for always leading from the front in operations and reaching out to youths in militancy-hit areas.