It was a heart-rending scene at the Palam Air Base here, as an emotionally distraught sister of Captain Kapil Kundu clung on to the coffin of the martyred officer, and beckoned his brother, even as a deathly silence filled the air.
"Bhai, Bhai, Bhai...," was all she could utter after seeing the mortal remains of his brother, who was to come home for his 23rd birthday on Saturday.
After Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had paid homage to Kundu, who served in the 15 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI), the family members brought the visibly shaken sister to pay her respect to the fallen soldier.
And, as she walked near the tricolour-wrapped coffin, tears welled up in her eyes. She then, carefully touched the surface of the wooden coffin, and then laid her head on it, and cried, "Bhai (brother)", multiple times.
The defence minister, before leaving, met the sister and other family members of Kundu, who had arrived in Delhi, to take the body of the officer to his hometown in Haryana.
His body was later carried in an ambulance, on way to Ransika village in Pataudi in Gurgaon district.
Kundu and three other jawans were killed yesterday in heavy Pakistani shelling along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district.
The mortal remains of the officer, who died in the line of duty, was flown to Delhi in a Dornier aircraft.
Born on February 10, 1995, Kundu was commissioned in the Army on December 10, 2016, senior Army official said.
Two of his grief-stricken friends from Army education days, also came to the Air Base.
"We were course mates, and he have such fond memories of Army education. I was on leave, so I came from Punjab after hearing the news. We will go along with the ambulance carrying his mortal remains to his home," said, one of the friends, who did not wish to be named.
They also shared that Kundu had a hobby of writing poems, both in Hindi and English.
"He was good in studies and also in sports and other activities. He was a very jolly person, we are going to miss him terribly," he told PTI.
The tragic news has hit the family like a tsunami, as Sunita Kundu had lost her husband when her son was just 15.
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