A day after firing across the line of control claimed the life of 42-year-old army soldier Padam Bahadur Shrestha in Jammu and Kashmir's Tangdhar sector, his loved ones in Assam's Dighali village continue to await his mortal remains. He used to be a popular face in the village, located in the northeastern state's Golaghat district, having inspired many in his neighbourhood to join the army.
"He was an inspiration for the entire village. He was the one who inspired me to join the Army. Whenever he would come home on vacation, he would inspire youngsters to fight for the nation. Many among us followed in his footsteps," Uttar Gurung, who identified himself as a childhood friend of Padam Bahadur Shrestha, told NDTV.
The soldier, who had joined the Gorkha regiment of the army in 2001, is survived by a six-member family comprising his parents, wife and three children. He had last visited Dighali in July.
"My son was like any other brave Gorkha. They had recently posted him in Kashmir, and as he was in the midst of action all the time, he would hardly get any time to call home. For him, duty to the nation was supreme," his mother, Dilkumari Devi, told NDTV. His father, Dhan Bahadur, was in no condition to offer a statement.
Padam Bahadur Shreshtha was among two soldiers killed in a ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops along the line of control on Sunday morning. Senior army officers paid homage to the two in a solemn ceremony held at the Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar earlier today.
The Assam government has announced financial aid amounting to Rs 20 lakh for his family.