Why a family of martyr in UP protested over his funeral

Lance Naik Sudheesh Kumar was martyred during cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri sector on October 16.

 |  3-minute read |   19-10-2016
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Four months ago, it was in the peak of summer that Kavita gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in Sambhal district of the Hindi hinterland.

Far away, amid the high mountains of Jammu and Kashmir, her husband Lance Naik Sudheesh Kumar was ecstatic to hear the news over the phone. A few days later, he came home to firecrackers and laddus.

The little angel was named Sudhi, after the father. The young soldier doted on his daughter and spent a month at home caring for her. Months later, it was time for yet another festive season — but a day before Kavita could adorn the parting of her hair with vermillion and drape the red-coloured sari to celebrate Karva Chauth, a phone call robbed her of all the vibrant colours of life.

Lance Naik Sudheesh Kumar was martyred during cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri sector on October 16.

Hailing from a small village in UP's Sambhal district, the sepoy is survived by his wife and four-month-old daughter. Kavita hasn't recovered from the sheer shock of the news and little Sudhi is too young to know of the tragedy.

590sudhees_101916023505.jpg Lance Naik Sudheesh was killed in cross-border firing in Rajouri.

Sudheesh's frail mother spoke to him on the eventful day.

Two days ago, hours before he went on duty, he told his mother that he would be coming home soon. "It's Karva Chauth. Give Kavita Rs 5,000 as a gift on my behalf and also buy some warm clothes for the little one," the soldier told his mother. Little did she know that fate would bring the coldest winter in their lives.

Brampal, the martyr's 65-year-old father, is a shattered man. "Sudhish was a fighter. He fought against abject poverty and got through the Army. He always said the country came first and later the family," he says.

In the sultry October afternoon, voices grew louder against the apathy of the state government. The family refused to perform the soldier's last rites. They were upset that the so-called ruling class had not even bothered to pay their last respects to a son of the soil.

"I will not perform the last rites till the Uttar Pradesh chief minister comes here. Even if I have to wait a day or two, or months," adds Brahmpal.

Sudheesh's mother asks, "Was my son not the son of this motherland? We are poor, is that the reason the chief minister has not bothered to see us even once?"

The martyr's younger brother Manoj was more blunt and accused UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav of discriminating between jawans: "Is it fair that he is discriminating us because we are Gujjars? Is our brother's blood not the same as the blood of other martyrs? Akhilesh chose to visit Etawah, Jaunpur, and even Mathura. Then why discriminate us?"

The news of Lance Naik Sudheesh Kumar's family refusing to carry out his last rites had already flashed on TV screens when the mortal remains of the martyr arrived.

Netas of all hue clamoured for their share of the footage. What followed is a story we have heard countless times before.

Local SP leaders made tall promises of naming a gate, road and college after the martyr, while reassuring the family of a meeting with the chief minister as soon as possible. By this time, the family had at least a dozen well-wishers heckling them with their agendas.

Finally, the young braveheart was cremated.

As a witness to his last rites, I would request those who trivialise the most sombre moments to kindly stop their opportunistic charade. It's time politicians, TV crews and so-called public servants stopped using martyrdom to cash in on the sentiments of the people! Have a heart.

Let's hope we, as a collective, don't demean yet another soldier's sacrifice.

Writer

Mausami Singh Mausami Singh @mausamii2u

Journalist at heart and by profession. Idealist, optimist, passionate , adventurist and fiercely independent. Three keywords to find me News/Nature/Nomad.

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