Samba/Jammu, Nov 18 : Hundreds of villagers assembled at the house of an ITBP jawan who lost his life in a Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh in a border village in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba district as the family waited for his mortal remains to arrive on Saturday.
According to officials, the body of the slain jawan is reaching his home later in the day and the cremation is likely to take place on Sunday.
Head Constable Joginder Kumar was killed in a blast in Gariaband district on Friday after the conclusion of the second phase of assembly elections in Chhattisgarh when a polling team being escorted by security personnel was returning after conducting voting.
The news of Kumar's death in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion near Bade Gobra village left his village in a state of mourning.
Kumar (45), a resident of Abtal Katalan village in Ramgarh sector of Samba, belongs to a family of security personnel with his father and elder brother retiring from the Army, while his two other younger siblings are serving in the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
Villagers gathered at Kumar's house, just two km from the International Border, to console the grieving family members, including his mother and wife, who were inconsolable.
Sarpanch Somnath said they came to know about the unfortunate incident at 5 pm on Friday. "The village is sad about the loss of his life," he said.
Amidst the heart-wrenching scene at the house, the jawan's father Dileep Singh a retired Army personnel and his nine-year-old son put up a brave face.
"I am sad about the passing away of my son but at the same time I am also proud that he laid down his life in the service of the nation," Singh told reporters at his residence which falls under the Pakistani shelling range.
He said Kumar was very enthusiastic about joining the forces like his brothers to serve the country. "I have seen him working hard to get selected now he has left his minor son behind, the government should come forward to support him."
Singh said Kumar was planning to return home on leave after the completion of the election process. He gave up his life to uphold democracy, Singh said.
"Naxalism is nothing new and has been going on for the last many decades. The government should find a permanent solution to the problem," Singh added.
Everyone is proud of Kumar for the ultimate sacrifice, his elder brother Jagdish Raj said, but questioned the persistent problem of Naxalism.
"We are here (in the service) ready to sacrifice. But it hurts more when the one loses his life in internal security duty. They were picked up from elsewhere and deputed on election duty without any knowledge of the topography and challenges," the grieving brother said.
He said it was unfortunate that the government has so far failed to deal with the Naxal problem effectively.
"They are talking about the readiness to tackle the threat of enemy nations but we are unable to overrun the small camps run by Naxals and secure the forests," he said.
Remembering his brother's efforts, Jagdish Raj said Kumar had secured the first position during his selection and served the country for over two decades.
ITBP also paid tributes to the jawan and said the force stands firmly with the bereaved family.
Director General of ITBP and all other ranks salute the braveheart who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, the force said in a post on X.