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Soil from homes of all 40 slain in Pulwama, in 1 urn

February 14, 2020 05:42 AM

COURTESY TOI FEB 14

Soil from homes of all 40 slain in Pulwama, in 1 urn
Rohan.Dua@timesgroup.com

A 40-year-old man who drove 61,000km across the country to meet families of all 40 CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama attack on February 14 last year has

completed the last leg of his journey and is now on his way to pay tribute to the slain jawans-—with a fistful of earth from their hometowns.


Umesh Jadhav will be the only special guest at a wreathlaying ceremony in CRPF’s campus in Lethpora (J&K) on Friday to commemorate the sacrifice of the jawans. “I spent last year collecting soil from the hometown of each jawan who lost his life. It’s all here...in this urn,” said the pharmacologist-turned-musician.


Envoys’ J&K trip ends with mixed response
The 25 envoys who had been taken to J&K returned after their two-day trip, with mixed reactions. A few of the European envoys were less than satisfied, although most diplomats appreciated the greater access in the Union territory. This is the second batch of foreign envoys visiting the UT in the last month. P 6

Met families of all 40 jawans and shared stories, says Jadhav

TOI met him on Thursday while he was on his way to Srinagar from IGI Airport. Jadhav was returning from a concert in Ajmer last year when, at Jaipur airport, he saw horrific visuals of the suicide attack.

“As images of the bodies lifted from the terror site beamed across TV, I decided I had to do something,” he said.

Jadhav then set out to meet families of all 40 jawans. It wasn’t an easy task as some houses were deep in the interiors. There were other challenges — his car, modified for extra space and painted with patriotic slogans, often served as his shelter for the night.

But over the past months, he managed to trace all the families, who were eager to share their stories with him. “We ate together and cried together. I even celebrated my birthday on December 21 with the family of a slain jawan from Punjab,” he said.

At each stopover, he took a fistful of earth and carefully kept it in the urn. He will now present this urn to the CRPF to “keep alive the memory of these jawans”. Zulfiquar Hasan, special DG (J&K Zone), told TOI the commemoration would be a quiet affair but Jadhav was invited as a special guest.

 

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