A pall of gloom descended on Mira Road, a township in Maharashtra as people joined the last rites of martyred Indian soldier Major Kaustabh Rane, who was martyred in Jammu-Kashmir.
He was among the four army personnel killed in a gunfight with terrorists near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Tuesday. His family, friends and residents showered flowers, raised slogans “Major Kaustubh Rane, Amar Rahe”, “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” as a flower-laden army truck took him to the crematorium.
Thousands of people gathered outside the Hindu Crematorium in Mira Road on Thursday to pay their last respects to Major Rane. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
The funeral procession started from his residence around 9.30 am. His body, kept in a casket draped in tricolour, was carried in a flower-bedecked truck. At a few junctions on the way, flowers were showered on the vehicle carrying the mortal remains. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
The roads leading to his home on Mira Road were covered with yellow petals, the colour of hope and longing. People who joined Major Rane’s final journey raised slogans “Major Kaustubh Rane, Amar Rahe”, “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
Army officers, including Lieutenant General Cherish Mathson general officer commanding-in-chief of South Western Command was present at the funeral. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
The 29-year-old’s last rites were performed with full military honours today. A military band played the last post. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
Major Kaustubh P Rane's wife, Kanika Rane said she was shattered, but proud of her husband. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
Major Rane's wife receives the Tricolour which was draped on the coffin of her husband. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
Major Rane's wife is inconsolable at the funeral. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
Major Rane’s wife Kanika, who carried their two-and-a-half-year old son Agastya in her arms, was inconsolable. Rane’s sister and four cousin sisters placed their rakhis while his parents placed his favourite chocolates on the body before the pyre was lit by the martyr’s father. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
People climbed trees and stood on terraces of neighbouring buildings as well as on the compound wall of the crematorium to witness the funeral. Photograph: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
BJP corporators attend birthday bash before Major Rane’s body reaches home
The Bharatiya Janata Party was left red-faced after a video went viral showing its MLA and corporators attending a birthday party in Maharashtra’s Mira Road township at a time when people were expecting to receive the body of Major Kaustubh Rane, who attained martyrdom in Kashmir.
The video, telecast by a Marathi TV channel, shows BJP legislator Narendra Mehta and a dozen BJP corporators from the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation celebrating the birthday of party corporator Anand Manjrekar in the township on Tuesday night.
The celebrations happened a day before the body of Major Rane, who was killed in Jammu and Kashmir during an operation to foil an infiltration bid, reached Mumbai.
Mehta was quick to tender an apology on the incident.
“What happened (the birthday bash) is extremely unfortunate. It shouldn't have happened,” he said.
“All of us have expressed regret for it. This is not a political issue,” he told the channel.
Asked why the bash was not cancelled despite the entire township mourning the martyrdom of its resident, Mehta said the event was pre-planned.
Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “This is the height of shamelessness on part of BJP public representatives. This incident has exposed the true face of BJP. The legislator and corporators who attended the party should be expelled by the party.”
“Those attending the party have given a flimsy excuse that they were not aware of Major's death. But the reality is some of them had gone to his residence earlier to offer their condolences and from there they had straightway headed to the party venue,” he said.