Kathua terror attack: Families in Uttarakhand mourn their dead

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New Tehri/Pauri (U'khand), Jul 9 (PTI) Rifleman Adarsh Negi spoke to his father over the phone on Sunday. The next day, Dalbir Singh Negi got another call, informing him about his son's death in the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua.

The phone call on Monday evening left the family in Thati Dagar village of Uttarakhand's Tehri district in a state of shock.

He was among the five soldiers from Uttarakhand killed in a terror attack on an Army convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua on Monday. It was the fifth terror attack in the Jammu region within a month.

In Pauri, Rifleman Anuj Negi's mother and wife fell unconscious upon receiving the news of his death. The scene was similar at Havildar Kamal Singh's home who has left behind his mother, wife and two daughters aged eight and four years.

The 32-year-old Singh, who had just completed 10 years in service, had come home in Papadi Naudanu village two-and-a-half months ago to get his youngest daughter admitted to school, a local told PTI.

His father Kesar Singh died a few years ago.

Adarsh Negi (25), a farmer's son, was the youngest of the three siblings. He had left his college studies midway to fulfil his dream of serving the country by being in the army.

Dalbir Singh Negi said his son studied up to class 12 at Government Inter College in Piplidhar and then joined Garhwal University to do BSc. He left his studies to join the Garhwal Rifles, he said.

"I spoke to him last on July 7 over the phone. He had come home in February and returned on March 26 to join duty," Dalbir Singh Negi said, fighting back his tears.

In Pauri's Dobariya village, friends and relatives flocked to Anuj Negi's home to console his mother and wife, but in vain.

The only son of his parents, Anuj Negi (26) got married in December last year. He rejoined duty four months after tying the knot, said Subhash Chandra Jakhmola, the gram pradhan of the nearby Jamri village.

After doing his intermediate, Anuj Negi joined the Garhwal Rifles about five years ago and his mother had distributed sweets in the village, Jakhmola said.

Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker and Kotdwar MLA Ritu Khanduri expressed grief over the death of the soldiers and said the country stands with their families.

Khanduri said she is the daughter of an army man and can the pain of the bereaved families. "The armed forces will give a fitting reply to the terror attack," she said.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, Cabinet ministers Premchand Aggarwal and Ganesh Joshi placed a wreath on the coffins of the five martyrs as their mortal remains were brought to the Jolly Grant airport here.

"Five brave soldiers of Uttarakhand attained martyrdom during the cowardly terrorist attack in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. This is a moment of great pain for all of us," Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said in a statement. "Our bravehearts made the supreme sacrifice for their motherland in keeping with the rich military tradition of Uttarakhand," he said, adding their "sacrifice will not go in vain. Terrorists, who are the enemies of humanity and guilty of this cowardly attack, will not be spared at any cost, he said, adding the people who sheltered them will also have to face the consequences.

He said the entire state stands with their families in this hour of grief. PTI COR ALM ALM NSD NSD

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