Hundreds mourn young army lieutenant killed in Kashmir
TAMBARAM: It seemed as if people from all walks of life in Pammal and Anakaputhur were saying a collective "No to terrorism" as the mortal remains of Lieutenant N. Parthiban were consigned to the flames at the Anakaputhur cremation ground on Monday.
People, who had never known the young officer, and had heard about his death only through newspaper and television reports, converged at the cremation ground to pay their last respects to the young officer killed in an encounter with militants in the Line of Control area of Kashmir on Saturday. People were vocal about the menace of militancy and hoped peace would prevail soon so that such precious lives were not lost.
Senior officers of the Indian Army including the 23-year-old officer's colleagues in 5 JAK LI (Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry) regiment carried the officer's coffin in a slow march to the cremation ground after it was brought from his house in Pammal in a flower-decorated army truck.
The body, which arrived at Chennai airport late on Sunday, was kept overnight at the Military Hospital and brought to Lt. Parthiban's house early on Monday morning. A stream of visitors kept pouring into the house. At the cremation ground, senior officers placed wreaths on the body.
He was given a 21-gun salute as a final mark of respect. The cremation was carried out with full military honours. Kancheepuram district collector Pradeep Yadav handed over a cheque of Rs. 5 lakh to Major (retired) V. Natarajan, father of Lt. Parthiban. Ever since he joined the Officers Training Academy last year, the officer had spent very little quality time with his father, mother Thamizh Selvi and sisters Pushpa and Kaarthiga.
Even during the 21 days vacation after he passed out of the OTA in March this year, he spent time motivating youth in different parts of Tamil Nadu to join the Indian Army before leaving for Kashmir. He returned for a brief vacation last month. And on Monday morning too, the mortal remains of the youth was kept in his house for less than two hours.
"When he spoke to us and his parents a couple of days before the encounter, he said he was heading for a very risky operation and that he did not know if he would come back," his friends recalled their last conversation with the martyred officer.