Bravehearts of the Indian Air Force (IAF), who were the first to take on Pakistani terrorists in the attack on the Pathankot air base were cremated with full military honours in their respective villages in Punjab and Haryana amid heart-rending scenes.
Family members of the killed soldiers said they were proud of the sacrifice made by the bravehearts.
IAF Garud commando Gursewak Singh was cremated with full military honours on Monday in his village Garnala in Haryana’s Ambala district.
Hundreds of people from Garnala, adjoining villages and Ambala city attended the cremation.
IAF officers and personnel carried the commando’s body wrapped in the tricolour to his village.
Gursewak Singh, 25, was killed on Saturday in the counter-offensive against the terrorists.
The commando had got married only about 45 days back.
“I am proud of my son. He has laid down his life for the country,” said Gursewak’s father Sucha Singh, a former army man himself.
Haryana’s Health Minister Anil Vij, Finance Minister Abhimanyu and Minister of State for Mines Nayab Singh Saini paid tributes to the soldier and met his grieving family members.
In Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, international-level shooting champion Subedar Major Fateh Singh was cremated with full military honours.
Breaking tradition, Fateh Singh’s daughter led the coffin bearers.
“I am proud of my father. He was a very brave man. Everyone should get a father like him,” Fateh Singh’s daughter said.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the families of Fateh Singh and Havildar Kulwant Singh in their native villages Jhandewal Khurd and Chak Sharif in Gurdaspur district.
Fateh Singh, a 51-year-old armyman who lost his life on Saturday, had won a gold and a silver at the first Commonwealth Shooting Championships held in Delhi in 1995.
“Every Punjabi is proud of the gallantry of these valiant sons of our motherland, who foiled the nefarious designs of foreign intruders,” Badal said.
Terrorists, suspected to be from Pakistan, had infiltrated into the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot early on Saturday which led to a fierce gun battle with the security forces. Four terrorists were killed on Saturday itself.
Seven security personnel — one officer of the National Security Guard (NSG), one IAF Garud commando and five Defence Services Corps (DSC) personnel — were killed in the counter-offensive.
Twenty security personnel, including 12 from the NSG and eight from the IAF, were injured. One securityman, who was grievously injured, was airlifted to Chandigarh on Sunday for treatment.
The terrorists failed to destroy IAF assets at the frontier base, 250 km from Chandigarh, due to timely action by security forces.