The sound of bugle calls filled the morning air on Thursday as the bodies of four jawans, wrapped in Tricolour, made their final journey from humble homes and bereaved families to the cremation grounds.
As the band played, the parade raised their rifles in unison and fired 21 shots in tribute to the departed soldiers. With a heavy heart, Bihar bid farewell to Sepoy Vijay Kumar Ray from Patna, Lance Naik Shambhu Sharan Rai, Naik Prem Nath and Sepoy Raghunanadan Prasad from Saran district. They were cremated with full State honours in their respective native places.
Ray’s body was brought to his home in Thekaha Anandpur village in Patna district in the morning. The funeral took place at Bayapur in Maner block. Around 10 a.m., the jawan’s six-year-old son Vivek lit the funeral pyre.
Bihar Industries Minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha, Lok Jan Shakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan, local MLAs and jawans from the Bihar Regiment Centre paid floral tributes to Ray.
Mr. Paswan announced Rs. 20 lakh from the MP’s fund for the development of the remote village and an ambulance to the Maner hospital. He demanded a compensation of Rs. 50 lakh to the family and education for the children of Ray, whose three-year-old Neha is yet to begin her schooling.
Ray’s wife had refused the State government’s compensation of Rs. 10 lakh. However, the family accepted the compensation cheque on Thursday, Patna district magistrate N. Saravana Kumar told The Hindu.
In a poignant scene, Lance Naik Rai’s four-year-old Piyush sat in his grandfather’s arms and lit the funeral pyre of his father. Rai’s body reached his home in Bhojpur’s Harnahi village around 1 a.m.
A host of political leaders, including State Minister Shyam Rajak, went to his house to pay their respects. The funeral was held in the village itself and Rai’s body was consigned to the flames around 10.30 a.m.
Chapra town in Saran district saw two funerals. A day after angry villagers jammed a railway line here, passionate outcries against Pakistan were heard on Thursday.
Men and women, old and young joined the funeral procession of Sepoy Raghunanadan Prasad. His body was brought to his home around 3.30 a.m. and taken to the cremation grounds on the banks of the Ghagra in Manjhi block.
“Nearly 10,000 people from all neighbouring villages attended the funeral. They raised slogans Veer jawanon ki lalkar, ghusenge hum sarhad par [Hear the cry of brave soldiers, we go across the border]’, Pakistan hosh me aao [Pakistan come to your senses]’ and Pakistan ka jawab do [Give a fitting reply to Pakistan]. There was much anger among the people,” Rajesh Kumar, Prasad’s neighbour, told The Hindu.
Prasad’s uncle Tribhuvan Prasad lit the funeral pyre. The local Congress committee offered Rs. 2 lakh and a petrol pump as a means of livelihood to the bereaved family. State Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh and several local MLAs attended the funeral.
Similar sentiment of anger against Pakistan with people calling for strict action against the neighbouring country was echoed from the Revelganj block in Saran, where the funeral of Naik Prem Nath Singh was held. His body reached his home in Jalalpur block around 2 a.m and the last rites were performed by 11.30 a.m. Around 400 people attended the funeral. Saran district magistrate Abhijit Sinha said compensation cheques for Rs. 10 lakh were handed over the families of Prasad and Naik.