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Army jawan Mandeep Singh's last rites held with full state honours

Antehri (Haryana): The last rites of army jawan Mandeep Singh, who was killed by terrorists in Macchil sector of Jammu and Kashmir, were held with full state honours on Sunday, even as his family and villagers demanded that Pakistan be given a befitting reply for its repeated  misadventures.

The jawan's body, wrapped in the tricolour, was brought in a bedecked army vehicle to his native village here as a large number of people including from neighbouring areas paid their last respect.

The soldier whose body was mutilated by the terrorists was given a gun salute by the army, which sounded the last post.

Mandeep's father lit the funeral pyre. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, senior army officers, officials from the district administration were present on the occasion. Villagers who kept chanting "Shaheed Mandeep Amar Rahe"

Villagers who kept chanting "Shaheed Mandeep Amar Rahe" also raised anti-Pakistan slogans.

The 30-year-old soldier was scheduled to return to his village to celebrate Diwali and for a ceremony in connection with the family's newly constructed house here, but instead, he returned in a coffin, his family and local villagers, all of whom were inconsolable, said.

Mandeep's family and villagers demanded the Centre avenge the sacrifice of soldiers and teach Pakistan a lesson.

People of his village said they will not be celebrating Diwali today as a mark of respect to the martyr's supreme sacrifice. However, each household has decided to light a "diya" (earthen lamp) in his memory.

Mandeep's sacrifice is the second loss to the district within a week after BSF constable Sushil Kumar, who belonged to Pehowa here, was martyred in Jammu district.

Antehri is famous as a village of soldiers. Several youths from here are serving in the armed forces.

There was anger among the people here over the barbaric incident at the Line of Control in Kashmir as the body of the jawan was mutilated by the terrorists, who were aided by the
cover fire by Pakistan army.

Mandeep had joined the 17th Sikh regiment as a sepoy in 2008. He had got married in 2014.

Consoling the martyr's family, Khattar while responding to their demand that stern action be taken against Pakistan for harbouring terrorists and its repeated misadventures, said that "we will teach them a lesson".

"We will avenge this. Pakistan will be taught a lesson," Khattar said.

He also said, "The martyr laid down his life for the nation's sake. In this hour of grief, we are standing solidly behind the family. We will give whatever assistance they require."

Meanwhile, interacting with reporters, Khattar described the killing of soldier Mandeep Singh as a cowardly act by the terrorists.

Khattar said that such nefarious designs of evil forces would not succeed.

"The martyrdom of Mandeep Singh will inspire many others to protect our motherland," Khattar said.

The Chief Minister said that a financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh would be given to the next of kin of the martyr.

To a question, he also said that the state government will consider raising a memorial or naming a road after the martyr. "Whatever his family wants, we will consider it," he said.

A pall of gloom descended on the Antehri village after the body of the jawan reached here. People thronged the martyr's house to pay their last respect before the coffin was carried in a bedecked vehicle for the last rites.

The chief minister and others laid a wreath on the martyr's body.

Mandeep's widow Prerna is a Head Constable with Haryana police and posted at Shahbad Markanda here. Prerna said Pakistan must be taught a lesson for harbouring terrorists.

"We cannot see our soldiers dying daily," she said breaking down into tears several times.

Mandeep is the youngest of three sons of Phool Singh. Singh said rmy should be given a free hand to deal with nefarious designs of Pakistan.

The martyr's brother Sandeep said that he wants to join the Army to avenge the killing of our soldiers.

The martyr's neighbours described him as a "go-getter" who always had a smile on his face.
Mandeep's sacrifice came within a week after Sushil Kumar (47), a BSF constable was martyred in Jammu district. He also hailed from Kurukshetra district and belonged to Pehowa town here.

Kumar was killed as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire, resorting to heavy shelling and firing from automatic weapons in several sectors along the International Border in Jammu district on 24 October.

This is not the first time that Pakistan has mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers.

During the Kargil war in 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia, soldiers Arjunram Baswana, Mula Ram Bidiasar, Naresh Singh Sinsinwar, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria and Bhika Ram Mudh of the 4 Jat Regiment were captured by Pakistani troops and brutally tortured.

The soldiers had their eardrums pierced with hot iron rods, eyes punctured and genitals cut off. The autopsy of the bodies also revealed that they were burnt with cigarettes butts. Their limbs were also chopped off, teeth broken and skull fractured during the torture. Even their nose and lips were sliced off.

In another incident, on 8 January, 2013, Pakistani soldiers entered Indian territory in Krishna Ghati sector of the border and killed two Indian soldiers -- Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. Indian officials said both the bodies were mutilated, and Hemraj's body was decapitated.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Oct 30, 2016 14:40:04 IST

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