'Grieving, but proud of his sacrifice,' says Col. Santosh Babu’s parents

Shattered as I lost my only son, glad that he sacrificed life for the country, says father

Updated - November 28, 2021 12:26 pm IST

Published - June 16, 2020 10:43 pm IST - SURYAPET

Col. B. Santosh Babu’s parents at their residence at Vidyanagar in Suryapet on Tuesday.

Col. B. Santosh Babu’s parents at their residence at Vidyanagar in Suryapet on Tuesday.

Messages of martyrdom, salutes and flower bouquets flooded social media platforms, as news of Army officer Santosh Babu’s death , and that he hailed from Suryapet town, spread quickly on Tuesday afternoon onwards.

Family sources confirmed that the Defence Ministry has communicated about the tragedy to the officer’s wife Santoshi on Monday night in Delhi, and the information was conveyed to his parents here on Tuesday noon. Colonel Bikkumalla Santosh Babu, Commanding Officer of the 16th battalion of Bihar Regiment, according to reports, was killed in the stand-off with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley, Ladakh on Monday night.

The officer had been living with his wife and nine-year-old daughter Abhigna and four-year-old son Anil, in Delhi. Only son of retired bank manager B. Upender and homemaker Manjula, residents of Vidyanagar in the town, he was due for transfer to Hyderabad in September, they said.

“He was a meritorious student right from school. He was focused on serving in the Army and joined Korukonda Sainik School, and then the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy. My son won medals and fought for the country at the border, but died too young,” Mr. Upender said, expressing pride.

“I am grieving as a mother, but am also proud and happy that he sacrificed his life for the country. His martyrdom will not go in vain,” Ms. Manjula wept.

State Legislative Council Chairman Gutha Sukender Reddy spoke to the parents over phone, offering words of comfort, local legislator and Energy Minister G. Jagadish Reddy and others called on the family. Police officials said the Army was coordinating with the family to bring the officer’s body to Suryapet soon, and local arrangements were being done for the final journey on Wednesday.

CM, Governor offer condolences

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed shock over the martyrdom of Col. Bikkumalla Santosh Babu, resident of Suryapet, in the clashes that took place on the Indo-China border near Ladakh.

He said Col Santosh has sacrificed his life for the nation and his sacrifice could not be valued in any terms. Mr. Rao conveyed his heartfelt condolences to Col Santosh’s parents, his wife and children and other family members.

The Chief Minister instructed Minister Jagdeesh Reddy to ensure that the State government’s representative should be present from the time of receiving the mortal remains of Col Santosh till the completion of last rites.

Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan expressed her heartfelt condolences to the family of Colonel B Santosh Babu, Havildar Palani and Sepoy Ojha who got martyred for our country. “I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Their sacrifices will always be remembered by the nation. Entire nation shares the grief of the bereaved families,” she said.

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