Paying her last respects to her husband Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, who was killed in an encounter in Kashmir, Nitika Kaul maintained a brave face. Standing in front of the coffin, looking at her husband's face, she said, "You lied to me that you loved me. In fact, you loved the nation way more. I'm quite jealous and I can't help it."
Major Dhoundiyal (34) was killed in the encounter in Pulwama district on Monday. His body was brought to his residence in Dehradun's Nashville Road area on Monday night.
The Major's family members, including his mother Saroj Dhoundiyal, two elder sisters, Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat, Army personnel, Congress and BJP leaders, and the public paid their last respects at his residence on Tuesday morning.
Amid the rain, Nitika first touched the coffin, then her husband's face, wiped her tears and kissed him from far. She said, "We all love you. You sacrificed your life for the people (of the nation)… You are such a brave man."
Choking, she continued, "I'm very honoured to have you as my husband. Till my last breath I'll always love you, Vibhu.
It's hurting that you are leaving but I know you'll always be around… I request everyone not to sympathise, rather be very strong. Let's salute this man," she said as she saluted her husband.
Hundreds stood with photographs of the Major, and placards in his honour, chanting "Bharat Mata ki jai", "Vande Mataram" and "Pakistan murdabad".
The body was taken to Haridwar where the last rites were performed with full military honours. BJP MLAs Madan Kaushik, Ganesh Joshi, Khajan Dass, Arvind Pandey, Congress MLA Manoj Rawat, and Congress leader and former chief minister Harish Rawat were among those who paid their last respects to the Major. All party leaders condemned Dhoundiyal's killing.
Harish Rawat said, "We all are very sad that so many soldiers are being killed. Many of the soldiers being from Uttarakhand has affected us even more. The entire nation stands with the families who have lost their loved ones in the past days."