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Friday, March 27, 2009

Why no tears for the eight Army martyrs?

In one of the longest-running encounters with terrorists that ended after five days in Jammu & Kashmir's Kupwara, eight Indian armymen including Major Mohit Sharma were killed.

Surprisingly, it didn't get proper coverage and the martyrs haven't got tributes from the citizens, media or politicians. In fact, you try searching the names of the eight martyrs and you may not even get more than two of them on any website. [Forget about photographs at all]

Why there is such apathy? Even the section that wears patriotism on its sleeve, didn't bother to pay any tribute. Among the martyrs are Major Mohit Sharma, Shabir Ahmad Malik, Sanjay Singh, Anil Kumar, Rakesh Kumar and Nithar Singh.

Hundreds of army men including Rashtriya Rifles personnel were involved in the operation. Senior journalist Vinod Dua questioned, 'Is it that urban Indian elite just doesn't care about things that happen away from major cities?'.

One of the names in the list of martyrs was Mir Shabir Ahmad Malik, a young jawan trained as commando, who was just 19.

When his body was brought for burial, thousands took part in the janaza. It was rare to see such outpouring of emotions in Kashmir. Pro-Indian slogans filled the air.

'When the body was brought in Tricolour-wrapped coffin borne by fellow soldiers, his village turned out in strength to salute its son (Shabbir)', wrote The Telegraph. The body reached Ganderbal on the day he was to turn 20, on his birthday.

Are things changing in Kashmir?

Anil Kumar was hero of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack but died unsung

One of the martyrs, Lance Naik Anil Kumar, was among the NSG commandos who had stormed Nariman House that was occupied by the terrorists in November 2008 attack on Mumbai.

Kumar was then on deputation with NSG. After the operation, he had gone on leave to his native place in Himachal Pradesh and after a little while joined duty. He returned to his parent unit in Kupwara where he lost his life along with other army jawans.

Indian Express correspondent Majid Jehangir did write a moving piece titled 'He fought Lashkar in Mumbai, dies fighting them in Kupwara'.

[Photo: A woman relative of martyred Indian soldier tries to control her emotions. The last rites of Shabir]

Related post on this blog:
No medals and honours, No tears for 15 policemen killed by Naxalites