Nagpur, Sep 20 (IANS) Two Indian Army men from the Vidarbha region in eastern Maharashtra, who were among the 18 soldiers killed in the Uri terror strike, were cremated with full military honours in their native villages in Amravati and Yavatmal districts on Tuesday afternoon.
While Vikas Janardhan Kudmethe hailed from Purad village of Yavatmal, Punjab Janrao Uike was from Nandgaon-Khandeshwar in Amravati.
Their bodies were brought by flight to Nagpur early on Tuesday and later kept for thousands of people to pay their last respects to the departed heroes.
Later, the funeral corteges were taken in solemn processions to their respective villages where many thousands awaited with teary eyes received them amdist cries of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vikas Kudmethe Amar Rahe”, and “Punjab Uike Amar Rahe” respectively.
Uike, 26 is survived his his father Janrao who served the army for 34 years before retiring from the Nagpur Ordnance Factory last year, his mother Bebitai, a brother and a sister whose husband Gajanan Kirapte is in the Border Security Force. His uncle Narayan had retired from the army last year.
However, Uike’s decision to join the army was opposed by his family, but he insisted and finally he joined the defence forces in 2009 after keeping it a secret from them.
It was only after he was posted with the Bihar Regiment that the family learnt of his move and they accepted it.
Incidentally, years ago when Janrao was posted in Punjab, Uike was born there so his family named him ‘Punjab’, said his grieving mother Bebitai.
Last week, he had spoken with his family members and informed them that he had been transferred to Uri barely a fortnight ago. He was planning to get engaged around Diwali and marry later for which the entire family was very excited.
Kudmethe, 27, of Amravati had joined the army five years ago and was married two years back. He is survived by his parents who work as labourers, his wife, an eight-month old daughter, and a sister who is married.
His parents recalled how, during his last vacation at home two months ago, Kudmethe was eagerly looking forward to coming home for the first birthday celebrations of his daughter later this year.
Hundreds of villagers of Nandgaon-Khandeshwar came out to support the family ever since the news of his killing reached here late on Sunday.
At the funerals in Amravati and Yavatmal, a large of civil and military officials, elected representatives and local villagers were present to bid a final farewell to the two heroes.