Prem Sagar, the Border Security Force head constable who was beheaded by Pakistan Army regulars was cremated at his native village in Deoria, after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke to the family members of the slain soldier.
The slain BSF jawan’s body was consigned to flames on Wednesday morning at his native village Tikampaar. Earlier, Sagar’s family had refused to cremate his body, insisting that the chief minister visit them.
“We agreed to hold the last rites after the chief minister spoke to us late last night and assured that he will visit our house. The CM told us that senior minister Surya Pratap Shahi will represent the state government,” Virendra, Sagar’s elder son said.
Late on Tuesday night, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had called up Virendra.
The cremation also got delayed as the family members insisted on seeing the body.
Deputy Inspector General BSF Rajiv Ranjan Sharma, who was present on the spot, said, “Had we shown the mutilated body to the family members and villagers, there would had been massive outburst of anger.”
Apart from this, the local tradition of the village urges the people not to cremate bodies on Tuesdays as it may incur bad luck to the family.
Shahi, who was present when the martyr’s body was consigned to the flames said, “The supreme sacrifice of the brave martyr will certainly not go in vain.”
Strong anti-Pakistan sentiments marked the last journey of the slain soldier as his body arrived at the police lines and was taken to his native village, about 40 km from the district headquarters.
Anti-Pakistan slogans were raised as the Indian Air Force chopper, carrying the soldier’s body, landed at the police lines ground before being taken in a cavalcade for the last rites.
Shattered with the news of her father’s death at the hands of the Pakistan’s BAT in Jammu and Kashmir’s Krishna Ghatti, Saroj the elder daughter of Sagar has demanded “50 heads in return” of her father’s life.
“His sacrifice should not be forgotten, we want 50 heads in return for his life,” said Saroj while consoling her mother, who was yet to come to terms with her husband’s gruesome death.
Dayashanker, brother of Sagar -- working with BSF and presently posted in Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh -- said, “I am proud of my brother. He sacrificed his life for the nation, but it is very heart-wrenching the way he has been beheaded by the Pakistan military.”
Village head of Tikampaar, Lal Mohammad, who is an old friend of Prem Sagar, said, “Pakistan took away my friend in such a brutal manner that we can never forgive it. We want revenge.”
Sagar and Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh were part of a three-member team that had gone to the spot on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir to check a snapped communication line.
Their mutilated bodies were recovered on Monday morning.
Top sources said they could have been decoyed there and there is a possibility that the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba could have been involved in the attack, with the backing of the Pakistani army.
Demands for retribution have come from all quarters.
Opposition parties have urged the government to punish Pakistan, which has denied India’s allegations.
The army has issued a warning, saying “such despicable act will be appropriately responded”.
Hinting at strong action which goes over and above counter-fire at the Line of Control, Union Minister Arun Jaitley has said, “Such acts are unheard of even during war...The sacrifice of these soldiers will not go in vain... The army will respond appropriately.”
Last year, after the huge terror strike at Uri, the army had launched surgical strikes on terror bases across the Line of Control.
IMAGE: Assistant Director General, Border Security Forces Western Command, Kamal Nayan Choubey, centre, pays his respects to Head Constable Prem Sagar during a wreath laying ceremony in Jammu. Photograph: PTI Photo