The bodies of the soldiers killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, which were brought to Delhi on Friday evening, have started reaching their respective hometowns. Huge crowds have gathered to pay respects to the soldiers amid emotional moments. People, with their tears in their eyes, stood on roads with flowers and national flags as the coffins arrived.
At Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, the body of Ajit Kumar Azad was received by his family members at around 7 am. The 35-year-old, who is survived by two daughters and a wife, was fondly remembered by everyone. Neighbours and people from Unnao had also gathered to express their solidarity with the family.
The funeral will take place at Ganga ghat, 15 km from his home, with full state honours.
In Varanasi too, people had gathered to pay tribute to Ramesh Yadav, whose body was brought to his native village Tofapur in Varanasi around 8:30 am. With national flags in their hands, people prayed for the fallen soldier.
The body of CRPF personnel Rohitash Lamba was also brought to his home in Govindpura in Jaipur around 8:40 am. People from the city were united with the soldier's family in the emotional time.
Assistant Sub Inspector Mohan Lal, posted on the highway as part of the road opening party (ROP), was also killed in the blast. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat paid tribute to him this morning as his body arrived in Dehradun.
In Bihar, tributes were paid to Sanjay Kumar and Ratan Kumar Thakur - two of the 40 CRPF soldiers who were killed in the terror attack.
Sergeant Sanjay Kumar left his home in Taregana Dih for Kashmir only last week after a month-long vacation. His family is in disbelief and shock.
The condition of Ratan Kumar Thakur's family in Bhagalpur is equally tragic. He has left behind a four-year-old son and a wife who is expecting their second child.
In Assam, CRPF personnel Moneswar Basumatary's body was flown in Guwahati by a special Indian Air Force aircraft and then to his village in Baksa. His family, in state of shock, prepared for the cremation as hundreds gathered to help out and stand together with the family in these testing times.
Four CRPF personnel from Punjab were given state funeral and hundreds of people turned up for the last rites. Ministers, political leaders and local administration officials were present for the final journey of the CRPF personnel.
The four CRPF personnel were Jaimal Singh of village Kot Ise Khan in Moga district, Sukhjinder Singh of Gandiwind village in Tarn Taran district, Maninder Singh Attri of Dinanagar town in Gurdaspur district and Kulwinder Singh of Rouli village in Nurpur Bedi area of Ropar district.
Jaimal Singh, 44, was the driver of the fateful bus that was blown up in the attack. He left behind his ageing parents, wife, a 10-year-old son and a younger brother.
Sukhjinder Singh left behind his parents, wife and a seven-month-old son, who was born after a gap of eight years.
Maninder Singh had joined the duty on February 13 only. His younger brother is also serving in the CRPF and is posted in Assam now.
Kulwinder Singh was to get married later in 2019.
Shock, grief and outrage have engulfed the country after the deadly attack on Thursday in which a terrorist rammed buses in a security convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway with a car carrying 60 kg of explosives.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday warned that those responsible for the attack had made a "big mistake" and would pay a "very heavy price". In hard-hitting comments at an official event, PM Modi said security forces had been given a free hand to act against terror.
(With Inputs From ANI, IANS)