Grief, anger as four Maharashtra soldiers martyred in Uri

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Mumbai, Sep 19 (IANS) Sorrow and anger on Monday gripped four small villages in Maharashtra which lost four young soldiers to Sunday’s terror attack on an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir.

The four soldiers are Vikas Janardhan Kudmethe from Purad village of Yavatmal, Vikas Janrao Uike of Nandgaon-Khandeshwar in Amravati, Sandeep Somnath Thok of Khadangli in Nashik and Chandrakant Shankar Galande of Jashi village in Satara district.

Kudmethe, 27, had joined the army five years ago and was married two years back. He is survived his wife wife and a daughter besides his aged parents.

Uike, 26, joined the army in 2009. His father Janrao is a retired soldier. He had been transferred to Uri barely a month ago.

Thok, 22, joined the army in 2012 and was due to get married around Diwali. He had been joined duty in Uri barely a few weeks ago.

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His family, including father Somnath who is a tailor and a brother who is a farmer, were preparing for his coming wedding.

The family owns a small piece of land on which his brother carries out farming and they live on a small dwelling on the plot.

Galande, 27, had joined the army in 2012 and is survived by his aged parents, wife Nisha and sons Shreyas, 5, and Jai, 3.

The youngest and doted son among three siblings, Galande came from a backward dry part of Satara where their two acres of land never had sufficient water supply for cultivation.

“It was my desire that all three sons join the armed forces. They respected my wish. Today, the youngest has been martyred. I am proud that his life has been sacrificed for the cause of the nation,” a teary-eyed Shankar Galande told mediapersons.

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Two months ago, the son had come on a brief holiday. Last Saturday night, he told wife Nisha that he was planning to come again for 10 days to help with the farm work.

Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the government would provide Rs.1.50 million (Rs.15 lakhs) to the families of each martyr and any other help required.

Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil demanded that each martyr’s family should be given a compensation of at least Rs.2.50 million as they had left behind aged parents and widows and their minor children.

The scene on Monday was similar in all the four villages, with hundreds of people arriving to comfort the families of the martyred heroes.

Villagers kept vigil outside the homes of the soldiers and awaited news of the arrival of the martyrs’ bodies which shall be accorded a state funeral.

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