Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The cargo area at Palam airport here bore a sombre look on Thursday with the aggrieved family members of Major D. Raghu Raman awaiting the arrival of his body from Srinagar.

Major Raghu Raman and his colleague Major P. Vinay were killed on Wednesday during a gunbattle with militants at Tangmarg.

“I am an ex-serviceman and very proud of my son, who laid down his life for the country. That is all I can say,” said S.K. Murthy, father of Major Raghu Raman. He said Major Raman’s wife was six months pregnant.

The Major’s sister, a Lieutenant-Surgeon with the Navy, was also present.The family members, accompanied by friends, were escorted inside the airport, where the bodies were accorded a ceremonial salute by officers from Major Raghu Raman’s unit. Major Vinay’s body was air-lifted to his hometown Hyderabad.

Major Raghu Raman hailed from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. Commissioned in 1999, he was assigned to the 19 Jat Regiment. Major Vinay, who was also commissioned in 1999, belonged to the 37 Med Regiment.

Both officers led from the front during the encounter, in which nine militants were killed. While Major Vinay died on the spot, Major Raghu Raman and three injured soldiers died in the hospital.

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