The military personnel of the 25th Punjab Regiment, led by second in command Major K.B. Chand, brought the casket containing the mortal remains of Viji by road from Tambaram air force station.

The funeral of Lance Naik V. Anthony Nirmal Viji (31), who was killed in a fidayeen attack in Jammu on Friday, took place at his native place at Mugaiyur in Thirukkoilur block with full military honours on Saturday.

The military personnel of the 25th Punjab Regiment, led by second in command Major K.B. Chand, brought the casket containing the mortal remains of Viji by road from Tambaram air force station. On reaching Mugaiyur, the coffin wrapped with the national flag was carried to the house where a large number of grieving family members and relatives gathered.

Since it was a small house on a narrow lane and the crowd was swelling to an unmanageable level, the military personnel did not open the casket in the house.

After keeping the casket hardly for half-an-hour in the house, it was put on a flower bedecked tractor-trailer and the cortege accompanied by the personnel went to St. Xaviers Church in the area. On the request of the priests, the coffin was kept in the spacious courtyard of the church for public viewing.

After performing the rituals as provided under the Christian faith for about an hour, the body was taken to the cemetery situated on the Villupuram – Thirukkoilur road where 14-gun salute was given by the personnel (each fired three rounds in the air) before lowering the casket into the grave.

Almost the entire Mugaiyur village paid homage to the solider, who was attached to the Artillery 111 Rocket Regiment and who met with untimely death in the hands of terrorists.

The soldier’s father Velankanni (67) said though it was a sad moment in his life he felt proud because his son had sacrificed his life for the country. Mr. Velankanni, who was the elected vice-president of the Mugaiyur panchayat from 20001-2006, said that he only hoped that the government would provide a job to Viji’s wife Pauline Nirmal as she had to take care of two daughters Nimal Jeffrina (6) and Nirmal Joshna (3).

District Collector V. Sampath told The Hindu that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had sanctioned Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the bereaved family.

Former Minister K. Ponmudy, who attended the funeral said, the State government must take it up with the Election Commission to release the compensation immediately. Mr Ponmudy also said that the Villupuram district unit of the DMK would give a financial support of Rs 1 lakh to the family. He also sought a government job to the soldier’s wife.