Chennai gave a tearful farewell to Major Mukund Varadarajan, 32, of the 44th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles who was killed in an encounter with Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Shopian in South Kashmir on Friday.
Major Varadarajan was cremated at the electric crematorium in Besant Nagar on Monday morning. Fourteen soldiers offered a 42-gun salute to the departed soul in an impeccable ceremony complete with full military honours.
Earlier, Mukund’s body was carried in convoy of twenty vehicles from his house at Professor’s Colony in Tambaram to the crematorium.
His relatives, friends, defence personnel and the alumni of the Madras Christian College, where he studied, accompanied the convoy. More than 150 youth on two wheelers carrying the Indian tricolour followed the cortege chanting slogans about Major Mukund’s heroic sacrifice for the nation.
It was a touching moment when Mukund’s three-year-old daughter, Arsheya, was asked to say ‘good night’ and ‘goodbye’ to her father as the cortege left the house, and two senior officers broke down at that moment. His wife, Indhu Rebecca Varghese, and parents R Varadarajan and Geetha were escorted by army officers.
Major General R G Krishnan, chief of Staff ATNK&K (Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala), said: “It is both a proud and a sad moment and the last post is a universal honour and a farewell to the soldier who has sacrificed his life for the country in the line of fire. He went to retrieve the body of a colleague who had been shot dead by the militants when one of the militants shot at him. This incident will not deter us from protecting our borders.”