'His sister's rakhi will never reach him now'

As hundreds of people gathered at the cremation ground to pay homage to the 36-year-old soldier of Maratha Light Infantry, Kundalik Mane, who was martyred in on the wee hours of Tuesday, his father just couldn’t hold back his tears.

Kundalik Mane's brother Vijay performing the last rites
The last goodbye: Kundalik Mane’s brother Vijay performing the last rites. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Still in shock over the untimely demise of his son during an ambush along Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector, Kerba Mane reminisced his last few moments with his martyr son. Speaking to MiD DAY, he said, “Kundalik had called us a few hours before he was attacked. He asked us to withdraw Rs 1,000 to buy gifts for his sister for rakshabandhan. His sister has sent him a rakhi a few days ago, which he will never get now.”

He added, “Kundalik used to call us regularly and inquire about the well-being of everyone in the family. He wanted both his children to study in English medium schools, wanted his son Amol to become a top officer in the armed forces. He had called us a day before he was attacked, and was supposed to come home for Ganeshotsav.”

Several politicians paid homage to the martyr.
Several politicians paid homage to the martyr. Pics/Krunal Gosavi

Livid over his son’s killing, he said only having talks with Pakistan will not put an end to the tension at the border. “India should declare war against Pakistan, and should burn them down,” he demaded. Kundalik is survived by his wife Rajashri, daughter Karishma alias Aarti and son Amol. Local doctors are treating the family for trauma they have suffered following the sudden demise.

Mane cremated with full military honours
A jawan of the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, Kundalik Mane was commissioned in the Indian Army in December 1997. Before being transferred to Jammu and Kashmir a few months ago, he was posted in West Bengal. His family moved with him to Bengal, but he later asked them to shift back to their village Pimpalgaon in in April. The martyr was cremated with full military honours yesterday. State Home Minister RR Patil, Minister of State for Home Satej Patil, State Labour Minister Hasan Mushrif, Minister for Co-operation and Parliamentary Affairs Harshavardhan Patil, senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde and other political leaders, police officers, and around 5,000 villagers paid homage to him.

Now the time has come to give a fitting reply to Pakistan. We have conveyed the strong feelings of our citizens to the government.
— RR Patil, state home minister

A sum of Rs 5 lakh will be handed over to Kundalik’s family. We have also taken the responsibility of the education of both his children.
— Hasan Mushrif, state labour minister

We will build a memorial for Kundalik Mane. We hope that the state government will support us financially for this initiative.
— Pradeep Patil, village sarpanch

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