LoC killings: Bihar mourns; martyr's family returns compensation cheque



Zee Media Bureau

Patna/Chhapra/Ara: As the political arena fumes over Defence Minister AK Antony's statement on killing of five Indian soldiers, martyred sepoy Vijay Kumar Rai's family has returned the compensation cheque given by the Bihar government.

In an embarrassment to the state government, Rai's family refused to accept the cheque of Rs 10 lakh and called for a stern action against Pakistan for killing five soldiers in an ambush along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Antony on Tuesday in both houses had said, "Twenty heavily-armed terrorists, along with persons dressed as in Pakistan Army uniform" were responsible for the killings.

However, a Defence Ministry statement, also issued on Tuesday, said a Pakistan Border Action team was responsible for the killing.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended on the native villages of four martyr Bihar soldiers.

The bodies of the four jawans belonging to 21 Bihar Regiment will arrive here late evening with senior Army personnel of the Danapur-based regiment; besides top officials will receive them at Jai Prakash Narayan airport.

District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of respective districts would attend their funeral which would be carried out with full state honour, Mehrotra told a news agency.

Of the four, Rai belongs to Bihta in rural Patna, Shambhu Sharan Singh hails from Bhojpur district and Premnath Singh and Raghunandan Prasad are natives of Saran district of the state.

The locals are seething with anger and want retaliatory action against Pakistan for the audacious attack and as the news of Vijay Kumar Rai's death came to Danapur, 10 km from Patna town, his mother, wife and neighbours were inconsolable.

Amid sounds of loud cry, the minor children of the jawan Vivek (6) and Neha (4), unable to understand the situation maintained a stony silence in contrast.

Rai's wife Pushpa, who was living with the children in a rented house in Danapur left for native village Anandpur Tehkaha in Bihta block of rural Patna last night itself with the soldier's elder brother and other relatives.

The soldier's mother Adhlagi Devi kept crying the whole night and fainted many times.

Devi lamented that her son had got her eyes treated on July 25 last when he had visited his native place, but now ironically she will not be able to see him this time around.

Vijay Kumar Rai was recruited in Bihar Regiment in 2002.

His Late father Netlal Yadav also served in Army just as his younger brother Ajay Rai.

The soldier's elder brother Rajkishore Rai was furious and voiced strong military action against Pakistan for the incident.

Shambu Saran Rai, one of the five soldiers killed in Kashmir, was to come home on a holiday in Bihar's Ara town this week. Now, his grief-stricken family awaits his body.

A pall of gloom has descended on Rai's house at Anaitha in Ara, 60 km from Patna, with hundreds of people thronging it to voice their solidarity with the family -- plus anger and anguish.

Rai's wife Sapna Devi and mother Kusum Devi fainted several times when they were told about the death. Both were inconsolable.

Shambu Rai's father Vansidhar Rai struggles to control his tears.

"We were waiting for his arrival as his holiday had been approved. He would have been here Thursday or Friday. But destiny had something else in store. Now his body will arrive, not him," Rai senior told a news agency.

Sapna Devi married Rai 12 years ago. They have three daughters and a son.

"She is shattered. Her world has crashed. She is unable to say anything except cry," said Rai.

The sorrow apart, the father is proud of his son.

"It is a rare thing that my son died for India. We are proud of him," he said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced a state funeral for all four soldiers of the 21 Bihar Regiment who were killed and a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for their families.

Besides, Sambhu and Vijay, the other slain soldiers are Prem Nath and Raghunandan Prasad, both from Bihar's Saran district, and Naik Pundalik Mane from Maharashtra.

The killings have impacted ties between India and Pakistan, whose Prime Ministers are widely expected to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next month.

(With Agency inputs)