20,000 BID ADIEU TO MARTYR IN MIRA ROAD

MUMBAI : The mortal remains of Major Kaustubh Rane, killed in a terrorist attack in the Gurez section in Kashmir on Tuesday were consigned to flames at the Mira Road civic crematorium on Thursday afternoon. Nearly 20,000 mourners joined the funeral procession. Full military honour with a gun salute was accorded to the martyr at the cremation ground. The funeral was led by Lt Gen Cherish Mathson, General Officer Commander in Chief, South Western Command, of the Garhwal Rifles unit alongwith Naval Bajaj, IGP, Konkan Range, Thane Rural police and personnel from the three Armed forces of the Indian Army.

Major Kaustubh Rane(29) posted in Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army, was killed when militants fired  at the jawans in an encounter on the Line of Control (LoC) in Gurez sector, Bandipora district, 125 kms from Srinagar. Three other Indian Army soldiers attained martyrdom, while two terrorists (confirm please) were shot dead by the Army jawans. Major Rane's family, comprising of father Prakash, mother Jyoti, wife Kanika, sister Kashyapi, and 2 year old son, Agastya stayed in the first floor flat of Hiral Sagar building, Sheetal Nagar, Mira Road since the past three decades. The father of the martyr, Prakashkumar, complained of  uneasiness at his residence, and doctors rushed to check on his health. Kanika, wife of the martyr was brave and tried to control her tears, but while paying her last respects to her husband, she broke down completely, and was escorted by relatives and taken to her seat, while 2 year old Agastya was obviously not knowing the tragedy and was playful, and was in the custody of another relative.  

A pall of gloom prevailed in the Sheetal Nagar, as  the body arrived in the wee hours on Thursday. A public homage was arranged wherein thousands of mourners paid their homage, for two hours on Thursday.  The chants of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Vande Mataram" rant the air, when the coffin containing the body was being kept on a military truck for the cremation. The body arrived at the cremation ground at around 11.15 a.m. after covering a 2 km distance from the martyr's residence to the cremation ground, which had the mourners in attendance. 

The funeral pyre was lit by Prakashkumar, father of the martyr and the entire air was filled with emotion, as nearly 20,000 mourners were present at the Vaikunthdham civic crematorium, just adjoining the Mira Road railway station. At the cremation ground, the crowd was going out of control, as they wanted to see the body, but relatives of the martyr appealed on the public address system, to the public to remain calm, as it was a national loss, and the crowd obeyed the plea, and remained calm throughout the cremation and continued to chant "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Vande Mataram.". A special pandal was erected by the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporration (MBMC) where mourners paid their last respects to the martyr. 

The other martyred soldiers have been identified as Rifleman Mandeep Singh (26) of Shivpuri in Uttrakhand, Rifleman Hameer Singh (28), of village Pokhriyal in Uttrakhand and Vikramjeet Singh (25) of village Tepla in the Ambala district of Haryana.