Indo-China clash: Martyr Sepoy Ojha became father 17 days ago
The bloodiest clash with China in several decades ended with the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers on Monday, a loss that has pushed the entire nation into grief. Among those who laid their lives for the nation was Sepoy Kundan Kumar Ojha of Jharkhand. The 26-year-old had become a father just 17 days ago. He couldn't even see his daughter. May his soul rest in peace.
The face-off happened during the "de-escalation" process, said the Indian Army. Tensions had already been brewing since May when China labeled India's infrastructure as trespassing. To defuse the situation, senior officers talked on June 6. Just when India expected China to withdraw troops, PLA attacked Indian soldiers. No bullets were fired but the clash was gruesome, nevertheless. It continued for nearly three hours.
In its first statement on the clash, the Indian Army said three soldiers — Colonel B. Santosh Babu of Bihar regiment from Telangana, Havildar Palani from Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand's Sepoy Ojha — were killed in action. Later, Army said 17 who "were critically injured and exposed to sub-zero temperatures at the standoff location succumbed to their injuries". China reportedly lost 43 soldiers.
Sepoy Ojha hailed from Dihari village of Sahibganj and was recruited to the Bihar regiment in 2011. His father, Ravi Shankar Ojha, is a farmer, and brothers Mukesh Kumar Ojha and Kanhaiya Kumar Ojha are private sector employees at Dhanbad and Gooda. Around 3 pm, Ojha's mother Bhawani Devi was informed about his death over the phone by an Army official.
Ojha's wife Neha Devi gave birth to a baby girl 17 days ago. According to The New Indian Express, he had visited home five months back and spoke to his family members 15 days ago. He was scheduled to pay a visit soon but the LAC tensions foiled the plans. Sahibganj Deputy Commissioner Varun Ranjan said he has sent officers to meet Ojha's family.
"His family members got the news from his regiment, we have learned. Kundan (Ojha) will be laid to rest with full state honors when his mortal remains arrive," Ranjan said. He revealed he hasn't received an official communiqué from the Army yet.
Condoling the death, Chief Minister Hemant Soren tweeted, "I salute all of them and Jharkhand Govt and the state stands in solidarity with Kundan's family in this hour of bereavement. (sic)" After the incident, Jharkhand canceled a train, meant to ferry 1,600 laborers for work in Border Roads Organization (BRO) projects along the Indo-China border. On June 13, Soren had flagged one such train.