Captain Pawan Kumar, 22, who died fighting terrorists on Sunday in Pampore in Kashmir valley is an elite Para commando. Incidentally, he belongs to two constituencies that are out on the streets agitating. He is a Jat from Jind district in Haryana and a degree holder from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi.
His last Facebook post said it all, “Kisi ko reservation chahiye toh kisiko azadi bhai, humein kuch nahi chahiye bhai bas apni razai (Some want reservations, some even freedom, but I want nothing, just my blanket).”
He is one of the five security personnel killed in the operations at Pampore where terrorists are holed up in the government run Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI). The Army also lost Capt Tushar Mahajan from Udhampur and Lance Naik Om Prakash, 32, both from 9 Para who succumbed to injuries in the hospital. Two personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Head Constable Driver RK Rana and Head Constable Bhola Singh were also killed.
On Capt Kumar one officer said, “He was killed as he was leading his men. The operation was tricky as possibility of some civilians being trapped in was not ruled out.”
On hearing about his son’s death, Capt Kumar’s father Rajbir Singh's first reaction was, “I had one child, I gave him to the Army, to the nation. No father can be prouder.”
Capt. Kumar’s death and his father’s comments could not be any starker to the developments in his home state Haryana, which is burning due to agitation by the Jat community demanding reservation and as JNU in Delhi boils with debates of anti-nationalism.
“He was destined to be in the Army as he was born on Army Day,” he added.
According to Army officials, he had taken part in two successful operations earlier in which three terrorists were killed — including the operation on February 15 in Pulwama in which one terrorist and two civilians were killed.
Capt. Kumar was born on January 15, 1993, observed as the Army Day, graduated from the 123 course of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned into the Army on December 14, 2013. He was with the 10 Para Special Forces and in service for less than three years.
Incidentally as the situation unfolded in Haryana on Friday, the civilian administration quickly requisitioned the Army. It should be noted that India has one of the largest Central Armed Police Forces and Para Military Forces but once again — reinforcing a growing trend — the army became the primary responder.
“Pawan Kumar was a young and a dynamic officer, He was a true commander”, Lt. Gen. S.K. Dua, General Officer Commanding of Udhampur based 15 Corps said after paying respects to his mortal remains.
The mortal remains of Capt Kumar were transported to Jind by air on Monday for last rites. The Army had appealed to people of Haryana for their full support “in giving a befitting farewell to the brave son of their soil.”
The encounter in Pampore began on Saturday after terrorists entered the seven storey building of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) where 2-3 terrorists are still believed to be held up.