'He volunteered for daredevil missions'

The wife of Naik Pandurang Mahadev Gawade, who succumbed to his injuries sustained while fighting terrorists in Kupwara, says he was a brave soldier

Pune: “My husband cannot leave me alone with our two sons. I feel like an orphan. God, give him back,” said Pranjal Gawade, the inconsolable wife of Naik Pandurang Mahadev Gawade, the 32-year-old soldier from Maharashtra, who was injured while fighting five Lashkar terrorists at Drugmulla village on Saturday in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, and died on Sunday.

Naik Pandurang Gawade had participated in numerous anti-militancy operations in Kupwara
Naik Pandurang Gawade had participated in numerous anti-militancy operations in Kupwara

On Saturday five Lashkar terrorists were killed in a 9-hour long operation in Drugmulla village. The operation was conducted by the local police and 41 Rashtriya Rifles. Three jawans were injured in the operation in which Gawade sustained bullet injuries on his face.

Hailing from Amboli village in Sindhudurg district, Gawade enrolled in The Maratha Light Infantry on September 21, 2001. For the past one year he was operating in 41 RR and had participated in numerous anti-militancy operations in the treacherous areas of Kupwara district. He is survived by wife Pranjal and two sons, Prajwal (5) and four-months-old Vedant. Naik Gawade had returned from leave and rejoined the unit on February 25.

Defence family
Pranjal said, “My husband was a brave soldier who would volunteer for daredevil missions against the militants in the valley, and his friends praised him for his skills. He wanted our two sons to study a lot, join the defence forces, and serve India. We celebrated our elder son, Prajwal’s fifth birthday in February, and this was the first time he was there for his birthday. After two days we arranged the naming ceremony of our other son Vedant, who is just four-months-old.”

Gawade’s elder brother Ganpat has retired from the Army and now assists their father on his farm, while their youngest brother Ashok is also in the Army and has come for a vacation.

Ashok said, “Three of us brothers were in the Army but amongst us, he was the most technically sound person in the field. Our sister had come to spend her holidays when we called him on Saturday and he spoke to every one of us. We are proud of our brother.”

Gawade’s mortal remains will be flown from Srinagar to New Delhi and to Goa today. From Goa by road they will be brought to Amboli village in Sindhudurg district which is around 100 kilometres away.


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