Bangalore: When the family of Colonel Vasanth Venugopal spent their vacation with him in Kashmir a month ago, they would never have dreamed that this was the last time the four would be together.
Four Army jeeps drew up before the family’s Lower Palace Orchards residence on Tuesday, bringing them the terrible news that will change their lives for ever. The Bangalore-based officer, who was the Commanding Officer of 9 Maratha Light Infantry and a recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal, was killed in an encounter with extremists in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
Col. Venugopal, who took over as Commanding Officer of his unit just about six months ago, is survived by his wife Subhashini and daughters Rukmini (10) and Yeshodha (7). The family was together and holidaying in Kashmir until a month ago. The Colonel, an alumnus of Bangalore University, was a brilliant student and a very good athlete as well. Rajagopal Kadambi, his uncle, said he was proud of the uniform he wore and his job. “He was a great storyteller and often spoke about his encounters and adventures in the Army,” he said.
The Colonel’s distraught wife was not in a position to comment.