'He Promised to Return Home': Family, Neighbours in Assam Mourn Death of Kupwara Martyr in Pak Firing Along LoC

Golaghat, Assam: A grieving family awaits the return of their deceased son at Sarupathar in Assam’s Golaghat district. Havildar Padam Bahadur Shrestha of 3/9 Gorkha Rifles attained martyrdom on October 19 when Pakistan resorted to unprovoked firing along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara`s Tangdhar sector, Jammu and Kashmir.

A pall of gloom descended on his native village of Hatighuli Dighali Pathar as neighbours visited Shrestha’s house to comfort the bereaved family members.

“We are proud that he sacrificed his life for the country, we salute him, but we still wish he was with us today,” said Saraswati, Shrestha’s youngest of three sisters.

Havildar Shrestha joined the Indian Army in October 2001 when he was a second year Higher Secondary student at Barpathar Junior College. He was the second son of Dhanbahadur Shrestha, a farmer, and Dil Kumari Shrestha.

Havildar Shrestha had promised his three-year-old son to return home in December as he could not be with him during Durga Puja. He last visited home in May.

“His leave was not approved for Puja, but he promised to visit us in December. I last spoke to him the day before...He also wanted to speak to mother,” said Saraswati, fondly remembering the time spent with her elder brother during festivals. Her husband, and Shrestha’s brother-in-law is also in the military.

Havildar Shrestha’s mortal remains are expected to reach his native place on Tuesday. He leaves behind his wife, Dhal Kumari Shrestha, his daughter -- who is a class eleven student -- and two sons.

The Indian Army took to Twitter to pay condolences to Gorkha warriors Havildar Padam Bahadur Shrestha and Rifleman Gamil Kumar Shrestha, who were martyred on Saturday while thwarting infiltration attempts from Pakistan.

With inputs from Debashis Gautam

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