Udhampur (J-K), Oct 6 (PTI) Amid wails and cries of her mother and other relatives, 14-year-old Tanvi Rajput -- daughter of Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) Sukhdev Singh -- fought back tears and expressed her resolve to join the Army to fulfill her father's dream.
Patriotic fervor gripped Peoni village on Tuesday as local residents joined the family to bid a tearful adieu to Subedar Singh, who laid down his life for the country.
His mortal remains were consigned to flames with full military honours amid chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'.
The JCO, a Kargil war veteran, sacrificed his life for the country in cross-border firing by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district on Monday.
'My father wished me to do well in studies and also to become a shooter. I will fulfill his dream and join the Army as an officer,' Rajput, a class 8 student, told reporters.
The village reverberated with anti-Pakistan and anti-China slogans throughout the day as the villagers waited for the mortal remains of the deceased which were later consigned to flames with full military honours.
'He was here on leave recently, on Raksha Bandhan (August) and had promised me that he will start my training in shooting when I reach class 10,' Rajput said in a choked voice while struggling to hold back her tears.
A wreath laying ceremony was held at Rajouri before the body of the deceased kept in a tricolor wrapped coffin was transported to Udhampur in a helicopter and then taken to his village in Majalta tehsil by road.
A 'Tiranga' (tricolor) rally was also taken out by the local youth as a mark of respect to the deceased.
'He is the 15th soldier from our community who sacrificed his life for the country. This war memorial stands testimony to our love for the country,' a local resident who identified himself as Manto said, pointing to the War Memorial built by the Bandral community in the village in honour of the martyrs.
Mantoo said Singh was a brave soldier and the whole village is proud of his sacrifice and is ready to follow his footsteps to serve the nation.
'We have had enough of Pakistan and we request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to teach the rogue country a lesson and settle the things once for all through the barrel of gun,' he said.
Vicky Rajput, the JCO's cousin brother who is also in the Army, said he is remembered for his bravery during 1999 Kargil war when he survived a tough battle with Pakistani regulars.
The JCO's uncle Mohan Singh broke down several times while talking about him and said he was keen to join the Army since his childhood.
Army's General Officer Commanding-in-chief, northern command, Lt Gen Y K Joshi and all other ranks offered deepest condolences to the family.
'The subedar was a brave, highly motivated and a sincere soldier. The national will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,' Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said.
Senior civil and police officers besides a number of politicians, including J-K BJP chief Ravinder Raina, joined the last rites of the soldier and paid rich tributes to him.
Meanwhile, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha also paid tributes to Subedar Singh and said 'our brave Army personnel are serving the nation with utmost dedication and determination'.
'The nation will remain indebted to bravehearts like Subedar Singh who made supreme sacrifice to safeguard the country's territorial integrity and ensure a safe and secure environment for our citizens,' Sinha said, saluting the courage and valour of the valiant soldiers.
The Lt governor has expressed solidarity with the family members of the martyr and prayed for eternal peace to the departed soul. PTI TAS AB SNE SNE