Pathankot attack: Himachal gives Rs.20 lakh each to two soldiers’ kin

Shimla, Jan 4 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government on Monday announced financial assistance of Rs.20 lakh each to the families of two soldiers from the state who were killed while fighting terrorists at the Pathankot Indian Air Force base.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Governor Acharya Devvrat expressed grief over the death of Havildar Sanjeevan Singh Rana, 50, of Siyun village in Kangra district and Havildar Jagdish Chand, 58, of Gola village in Chamba district.

In a message, the chief minister said they sacrificed their lives to maintain the unity, integrity and security of the nation.

Praying for peace to the departed souls, the governor said the nation was indebted to them for their supreme sacrifice.

Both the martyrs were cremated with full military honours in their native villages, which was attended by a large number of people.

Chand, who was among the first security personnel to engage the terrorists, managed to neutralise one of the attackers before being shot dead, said officials.

Chand, who is survived by his wife and three children, had joined duty at the Pathankot base a month ago after his transfer from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.

After retiring from the Indian Army, he joined the Defence Security Corps.

Rana is survived by his wife Pinki Devi, two daughters and a son.

Serving in the Indian Army is a tradition with Rana’s family as his father Rattan Singh was also an army man.

“It’s a tragedy not for me but for the nation. I am proud my son sacrificed his life for the nation,” Rattan Singh said with moist eyes.

Rana had retired from the Dogra Regiment in 2007 and joined the Defence Security Corps.

Army commander visits Pathankot air base

The Indian Army’s Western Command chief Lt. Gen. K.J. Singh arrived at the Pathankot Air Force Station on Monday even as security forces were engaged in search and combing operations at the frontier air base.

“He visited Pathankot to take stock of the operation and also carry out a review of the security arrangements of other military establishments around Pathankot,” an army spokesman said here on Monday.

Mopping operations were in progress on the third day after the base was attacked by terrorists on Saturday morning.

Lt. Gen. Singh appreciated the deliberate conduct of the joint operation and complimented the Indian Army, NSG, Indian Air Force, Special Forces and DSC personnel for their bravery, perseverance and determination, the spokesman said.

“The army commander paid homage to the gallant martyrs by laying a wreath and conveyed his condolences to the families of the martyred soldiers. He also visited the hospital and met the injured soldiers and enquired about their condition,” the spokesman said.

Terrorists, suspected to be from Pakistan, had infiltrated into the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot early on Saturday which led to a fierce gun battle with the security forces. Four terrorists were killed on Saturday itself.

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