An Army Jawan Gets a Hero’s Welcome In Kashmir, And A Tearful Goodbye
Kashmir has seen massive turnouts in funerals of militants. But on Friday, thousands came out at the funeral of an army soldier killed by militants. Lance Naik Ghulam Mohiuddin Rather, a Kashmiri, was killed when an army convoy was ambushed at Shopian in south Kashmir on Wednesday night.
He had taken six bullets in his leg and lost too much blood. He, like the two other jawans, did not make it.
On Friday, the 35-year-old was carried back home by his colleagues from the army, in a coffin draped in the tricolour.
Minutes earlier, Army chief General Bipin Rawat and top government functionaries had flown into Jammu & Kashmir capital Srinagar to pay rich tributes to the three soldiers at the Badami Bagh cantonment headquarters.
Back home in Marhama locality some 25 km from the ambush site, thousands showed up to give Lance Naik Rather a hero’s welcome, and a tearful goodbye. This was the first time such a large number of people were at an army jawan’s funeral and surprised the authorities too.
Lance Naik Rather had joined Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry and was posted with the Rashtriya Rifles, the counter-insurgency force raised in the mid-1990s that has been at the forefront of the effort to break the cap militancy in the state. It is also the force that often bears the brunt of public anger heaped upon it.
But this soldier was one of their own. “The entire village respected him,” said his cousin Khurshid Ahmad.
“We are very disturbed… extremely sad. The entire village is plunged in sorrow, this family has been ruined after his death, he was the only son”, added another cousin, Shakeel Ahmad.
Lance Naik Rather had returned to duty just a month earlier after a short break to celebrate his son’s first birthday.