A Husband Remembers India's First Woman Officer to Die in Line of Duty

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A Husband Remembers India's First Woman Officer to Die in Line of Duty

Lieutenant Kiran Shekhawat, country's first woman officer to die in the line of duty, was cremated with full military honours.

Mewat, Haryana:  Lieutenant Kiran Shekhawat - country's first woman officer to die in the line of duty - was cremated with full military honours today in Mewat, Haryana. Two years ago 27-year-old Lt Shekhawat had married a fellow naval officer Lt Vivek Chokar, but the two had never lived together. This was meant to change next month.

"She was going to be transferred to Kochi and I was going be there two months later. We had a lot of plans," said Lt Choker, just hours before performing the last rites of his wife, who was commissioned in the Navy in 2010.

He was posted as an instructor in the Naval Academy in Ezhimala, Kerala and Lt Shekhawat in Goa training to be an observer - an officer in charge of all sensors on board a surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

Lt Chokar would normally talk to his 27-year old officer wife before and after her sorties. But on Tuesday night, he did not hear from her. "I knew it was her routine to go for sorties in the night. Usually she would call me before taking off and once again after landing. So she called me at 6.30 that evening. But that night, I waited for her call till mid-night. I then got the news and made my way to Goa as soon as I could," says Lt Chokar.

He says he was hopeful of her rescue since the navy was doing everything possible to look for her. Three days later, his worst fears came true when Lt Shekhawat's body was recovered.

Lt Shekhawat and Lt Abhinav Nagori were on a Dornier aircraft which went down on Tuesday night off the Goa coast.

"I request everyone not to get demotivated by this. This was an accident, a terrible tragedy. But she lives on as an inspiration for women officers," says an emotional Lt Chokar, whose family continues to serve the navy.

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