Eleven months old Parikshith’s first birthday will go without celebrations. He completes one year on June 26. His family would have celebrated his birthday had his father Battery Havildar Major Yoganandan not died at Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir. Yoganandan died of heart attack while on duty on Sunday morning.

Parikshith and his sister, Varshitha (4), were the two children everyone gathered at the cremation wanted to see. They were mute spectators when their father was cremated with full military honours at Agrahara village in Channarayapatna taluk on Tuesday. The body arrived in Hassan on Tuesday morning and was later taken to the native village for the final rites. Yoganandan is survived by his mother, wife Lakshmi and the two children.

Yoganandan’s brother Dore Swamy said that Yoganandan had come last to the native place two months ago. He was in regular touch with the family members even after leaving for duty. “He called me up last time on May 28 to say that he would be posted in the Siachen Glacier and it would be difficult for him to call us over phone due to network problem. The day before his death he had called his mother and asked her to take care of her health,” he said.

Platoons of the Indian Army and Hassan District Armed Reserve police paid respects to the soldier by firing three rounds in the air.

Subedar A.K. Ranjith, who accompanied the body, said that Yoganandan died of heart attack. As he was on patrolling duty, he suffered chest pain and collapsed. The doctors, who conducted post-mortem, gave a preliminary report suggesting that he died of heart attack.

The Siachen Glacier, where he was posted, is over 19,000 ft from the sea level. The temperature is always below – 25 degrees Celsius”, he said suggesting that the climate could be one among the reasons for the incident.

He said that Yoganandan’s death would be treated on a par with death in a battle field. His family would get due compensation from the State governments of Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir, besides the Union government.

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