Chandigarh/Jaisalmer/Bankura/Etah: Family members of eight Army personnel who were killed in a road accident in Sikkim were inconsolable as their last rites were held with full state honours at their native places in four states on Sunday.
There was hardly a dry eye as the three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son of Lance Naik Somvir Singh of the 113 Engineers Regiment lit his pyre in Haryana’s Hisar.
As soon as his mortal remains reached his residence, his mother and father kissed their son’s forehead while his sister saluted him.
The scenes were no different in Jhojhu Kalan where the eight-year-old son of havildar Arvind Kumar of 8 Rajputana Rifles performed his father’s last rites.
In Fatehabad’s Pili Mandori village, residents chanted ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ as the mortal remains of grenadier Vikas Kumar of the 25 Grenadiers left home for the final journey.
In West Bengal’s Bankura, villagers gathered in large numbers at the residence of Naik Gopinath Makur to bid him farewell, as his widow and parents struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.
These soldiers were among the 16 who were killed when an Army truck in which they were travelling fell into a gorge while negotiating a sharp turn at Zema in North Sikkim on Friday.
The truck was part of a three-vehicle convoy that was going from Chatten towards Thangu, according to the Army.
Minister of state Anoop Dhanak, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Jaibir Yadav, army personnel and other officials attended the last rites of Somvir Singh, who was commissioned into the Army on 26 June, 2015.
He had recently come home on a 55-day leave and resumed duty last week.
Havildar Arvind Kumar had joined the Army 15 years ago and his wife is posted with the Haryana Police. His cremation was attended by MP Dharambir Singh and local MLA Sombir Sangwan.
Grenadier Vikas Kumar had joined the Army four years back and got married two years ago. MP Sunita Duggal and several other political leaders, Army personnel and civil administration officials attended his last rites.
In Rajasthan, the mortal remains of Subedar Guman Singh, Lance Naik Manoj Yadav and soldier Sukha Ram were consigned to the flames in Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu and Jodhpur districts, respectively.
Thousands attended the last rites of Guman Singh in his Joga village.
In Jodhpur, the body of Sukha Ram was taken from the Jodhpur airport to his Sawantkua village in Khedapa in a large procession.
Scores of people carrying the tricolour joined the last journey of Lance Naik Yadav in Jhunjhunu’s Majri village.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Tajpur Ada village, Lance Naik Bhupendra Singh’s younger brother lit his pyre as slogans of ‘Jabtak Suraj-Chand Rahega, Bhupendra Tera Naam Rahega’ rent the air.
Lance Naik Singh is survived by his three-year-old daughter.