Slain soldier cremated with full military honours

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Pune, Dec 19 (IANS) Indian Army soldier Saurabh Nandkumar Pharate, who was killed by gunmen in a military convoy attack on Saturday in Jammu and Kashmir, was cremated here on Monday morning with full military honours, officials said.

Pharate, 32, was among the three soldiers killed when gunmen opened fire on the military convoy near Kadlabal in Pulwama district on Saturday.

Hailing from Bhekrainagar in Fursungi, his body was brought from Jammu to Pune on Sunday and kept at the Armed Forces Medical College here, where several thousands of people paid their homage.

Among those who offered their last respects, included Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, who also met the family members of the dead soldier, besides other local political and social bigwigs.

“We remember him a lot… We cherish many memories of Saurabh, how he was always courageous since his childhood and wanted to do something for the nation,” said the grieving father, Nandkumar Pharate to Pawar, who consoled him.

Recalling his son’s supreme sacrifice for the country, Pharate demanded toughest action by the government against the terrorists responsible for his death.

Saurabh had spent two months on vacation with his family and celebrated the birthday of his twin daughters on October 24.

Following in the footsteps of his elder brother, Saurabh had joined the army around 2003.

After his vacation, he had resumed duties barely a week ago when his entirely family had given him a fond farewell.

He is survived by his wife, twin daughters, a brother also posted in Jammu and Kashmir, and their aged parents.

Many of the grieving mourners from Bhekrainagar and surrounding villages joined the funeral procession amid cries of “Saurabh Pharate Amar Rahe” and “BharatMata Ki Jai”.

–IANS

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