Clamour is growing for decisive action against Pakistan to avenge the killings of eighteen soldiers killed in a deadly attack carried out by four alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad militants on Indian Army’s 12 Infantry Brigade base Headquarters in Uri town.
From Uttar Pradesh up to Bihar to Bengal, the kins of deceased soldiers want the centre government to take stringent action against Pakistan for “exporting terror to India,” and killing their loved ones.
“India should carry out strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan where these people get trained to unleash terror. The government should send forces across the border, and carry out air strikes, to eliminate these terrorists. If they are not ashamed of their act why should we be,” Anikat Yadav, a master’s student and cousin of slain Sepoy Harinder Yadav, a resident of Village Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, told Firstpost over the phone.
Hundreds of people turned up to receive coffins and raised slogans against Pakistan in Jammu region, two out of eighteen slain soldiers killed in Sunday’s early morning attacks were from the region, whose last rites were performed on Monday evening.
Havildar Ravi Paul and Naib Subedar Karnail Singh, both from Jammu, lost their lives in the brutal attack, leaving their families in mourning. Both were from 10 Dogra regiment and were headed for Pathankot in a day or two for a routine turnover.
“He (Ravi) served this nation for 23 years. We are proud of his ultimate sacrifice. He was to be posted out and was joining in Pathankot in a couple of days,” Yash Paul, brother of Havildar Ravi Paul, told Firstpost.
The advance party of 10 Dogra Regiment had already left for the neighbouring state and the troops of 6 Bihar, which was replacing 10 Dogra, too had arrived at the 12 infantry brigade at Uri.
Ravi was to retire next year and Pathankot was his last posting. “His two sons were already admitted in a school in Pathankot so that they could continue their studies. We had never imagined in his the last year of his service he would achieve martyrdom,” Yash, the brother of slain soldier Ravi, added.
While Paul and Singh were waiting to leave for the neighboring state of Pathankot for their posting, Lance Naik R K Yadav of 6 Bihar, who had just landed in Uri on Friday for his new posting, was also killed in the attack.
Yadav, 33, a resident of Ballia, Uttar Pradesh has two daughters and his wife is pregnant with their third child. On Saturday he had made a call to his mother asking her about the health of his wife. “He talked for hours as if he was thinking this was his last time,” Yadav mother told reporters.
Joginder Singh, Karnail Singh’s brother, told Firstpost on a phone from Jammu that India’s response should be same and Pakistan should “feel what losing the near and dear ones means”. He said he was “proud of the sacrifice of his brother for the nation".
“He had brought a shawl and gifts from Kashmir for his wife and was expected to visit home briefly before heading towards Pathankot. Now instead of gifts, his coffin arrived in his home,” Karnail said. Singh is survived by an ailing mother, wife and three sons.
Anmol Singh, son of Karnail Singh, who is an undergraduate student in a local college in Jammu, said that this was the time for India to hit Pakistan as much as “we could”. “I will do everything to join Army and avenge the death of my father. These people needed to be taught a lesson,” the Anmol, said.
In the village of Jamuna Balia, Howarah in West Bengal, villagers gathered outside the house of Sepoy G Dalai waiting for his body to be brought to his home for the last time.
Dalai, 22, had called his mother on Thursday and told her that he was returning home in few days. “I had never thought I was talking to him for the last time. He was an obedient child,” Dalai’s mother told visiting reporters. “The people responsible for this attack should be strictly punished,” she added.
After Sunday's attack, questions are being asked about what kind of response the Indian government needs to take in response.
Director General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said, "The Indian Army has displayed considerable restraint while handling the terrorist situation both along the Line of Control and in the hinterland. However, we have the desired capability to respond to such blatant acts of aggression and violence as deemed appropriate by us."
Rajendra Prasad Singh whose son Sepoy Rajesh Kumar Singh, a resident of Jaunpur village in Uttar Pradesh, was also killed in the attack, said he wished his son was killed in a war instead of a terrorist attack.
“But I also want to know why my son was sleeping in the tent. I don’t know if he was awake when these terrorists attacked them, had he been awake, I am sure, he would have fought like a warrior,” Rajendra said. Singh is survived by his aged parents, wife and a six-year-old son.
Soldiers were resting inside two tents when militants carried out the strike and hurled grenades and opened indiscriminate fire. The army said on Monday that many of its soldiers were burned alive when the tent they were sleeping in caught fire. After the wreath laying ceremony in Army’s 15 Corps Headquarters in Srinagar, the bodies of slain soldiers were flown out of Srinagar.