Tamil Nadu

Theppanandhal village in Tiruvannamalai mourns its soldier Manivannan

Mortal remains expected to reach district today

To almost everyone he met in his hometown, 24-year-old soldier G. Manivannan, a resident of Tiruvannamalai, had often spoken about his love to serve the country, and that he wished to die protecting the nation. Four years after his patriotism made him join the Indian Army, the young soldier was killed in an ambush by militants in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

The son of an agricultural labourer and a resident of Theppanandhal village in Tiruvannamalai, Manivannan joined the Army in 2013. “It was his aim from a young age to join the Army and serve the country. When in college, he used to wake up at 4 a.m. and run to be fit. He had several friends in the village,” G. Anand, his younger brother, said.

Manivannan was a gunner (operator) attached to 147 Light AD Regiment. As news of his killing spread in the village, friends and neighbours gathered at his home to mourn the loss of a dear one. It was his phone call that lasted for nearly an hour that his mother, Chinnaponnu, will remember forever. “He called mother at 7 a.m. on Saturday and spoke to her for nearly an hour. He always does it. If he calls family or friends, he will talk for half an hour to one hour. He told her that he will apply for leave and come home on Thursday,” Mr. Anand recalled.

Family’s debts

He noted that it was Manivannan who was repaying the family’s debts. “We took loans for constructing a house nearly seven years ago. He was repaying the loans and we still have to pay ₹5 to 6 lakh more. He was posted in Pune earlier, and said he will work in Jammu for a month as it will also help in repaying the debts,” he said.

In fact, even during his conversation with his mother, Manivannan spoke about repaying the loans when he visits home on leave. He had visited his family last year during a leave for 50 days when his maternal grandfather had died. “On Saturday, a relative of a fellow Army man residing in Vellore came to our house and informed about my brother’s death as our mobile phone was switched off,” he said.

Manivannan would have turned 25 next month, Mr. Anand said, adding they were considering marriage for him. Mr. Anand said, “Whoever he met in the village, he spoke about his desire to sacrifice his life for the country. He always said that he wanted to lay down his life for the Indian soil and that his name would be engraved on a plaque and remembered for a long time.”

An official of the Tiruvannamalai administration said they expected the mortal remains of Manivannan to reach the district on Monday morning.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Sunday condoled the death of G. Manivannan, the army jawan who was killed in an ambush in Jammu and Kashmir recently, and announced a solatium of ₹20 lakh to the bereaved family.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 1:12:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/theppanandhal-village-in-tiruvannamalai-mourns-its-soldier-manivannan/article18721544.ece

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