New Delhi: The killings of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control in Poonch has enraged the entire country. The bodies of the martyrs will be taken to their native states on Wednesday. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced a state funeral for the slain soldiers from Bihar even as the families of the martyrs come to terms with their loss.
In Danapur near Patna, at the home of Sepoy Vijay Kumar, his family is inconsolable. Vijay had talked to his wife just three days back promising to come home for Dussehra. His children are still unaware that their father will not be returning.
"My brother used to call every Sunday. We used to ask him to stay with us longer but he would always say that he had to go. I was waiting for him to come for Rakshabandhan," said Vijay's sister.
The story is no different in the home of Lance Naik Shambhu Sharan Rai in Arrah. His father is desolate. "I would like to appeal to the government to do something about it. Pakistan has always harmed our soldiers but our government hasn't taken any action," said his neighbour.
In far off Maharashtra too, there was sadness at the home of Naik Pundalik Mane, the only soldier from the 14th Maratha Light Infantry who was also killed. His fellow villagers say they are yet to receive any official intimation of his death. "The entire village is in mourning. He was a good man. The government should give out a strong response to Pakistan for their gruesome act," demanded the village Sarpanch.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced state funerals for the soldiers of 21 Bihar who were brutally killed. But for the families, it's a loss that they could never forget.
Meanwhile, as pressure mounts on the UPA to give Pakistan a tough response, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the government is well prepared and will respond fittingly to the latest provocation. But he remained silent on the status of next month's Indo-Pak dialogue.
The BJP on the other hand is up in arms against the killing of the Indian soldiers. BJP workers held protests outside Defence Minister AK Antony's residence in the capital. The workers raised slogans demanding that a strong message be sent to Pakistan that such incidents will not be tolerated. Police used water cannons to disperse the demonstrators who tried to break barricades. Similar protests were also held in Agra and Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir.
Former Army chief General VP Malik told CNN-IBN it is unimaginable that the attack was done without the knowledge of the Pakistani Army, even though Islamabad remained in denial. A press release by the Army Public relations office in Jammu had in fact caused the confusion over the identity of the assailants. The initial statement had claimed the jawans were attacked by 'terrorists along with soldiers of Pak Army'. But the PRO later clarified saying the attack was carried out by 'terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms'.CNN-IBN's Strategic Affairs Editor Surya Gangadharan on LoC killings in Poonch: