Thousands of mourners bid an emotional adieu to Major Kaustubh Rane, who was killed while foiling an infiltration bid by terrorists from Pakistan on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
People lined up the roads in Rane’s native place Mira Road on the outskirts of Mumbai and many showered flowers as a flower-bedecked military truck carrying the mortal remains moved slowly towards the cremation ground.
A stretch of the route was carpeted with yellow flowers for the funeral procession of the brave soldier whose body in a casket was draped in the national tricolor.
The entire township was in a state of mourning.
Major Rane and three other soldiers were killed while foiling an infiltration bid in north Kashmir’s Gurez sector two days back. At least two militants were gunned down in the operation.
Rane was cremated with full military honours amid 21-gun salute and slogans like ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Major Kaustuch Rane Amar Rahe’.
At the cremation ground, chaos was witnessed for some time as there was a huge gathering of emotional mourners.
Rane’s family members had to appeal to the people gathered there to maintain calm.
His wife Kanika, who carried their two-and-a-half-year old son Agastya in her arms, was inconsolable.
Rane’s sister and four cousin sisters placed their rakhis while his parents placed his favourite chocolates on the body before the pyre was lit by the martyr’s father.
People climbed trees and stood on terraces of neighbouring buildings as well as on the compound wall of the crematorium to witness the funeral.
Among those who attended the cremation were local politicians, South Western Army Commander Lt General Cherish Mathson and several other senior Army officials.
Earlier, scores of mourners thronged Rane’s house in Shital Nagar area in Mira Road in the morning to catch his last glimpse.