TIRUPATI: A 37-year-old jawan from Chittoor district’s Reddyvaripalle in Irala mandal was killed along with three other soldiers and an army officer in Sunday’s encounter between the militants and the security forces along the Line of Control (LoC) in Machil sector of Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district.
There was gloom in Reddyvaripalle following the death of Praveen, who was the only son of Chikala Prathap Reddy and Sugunamma. He got married to Rajitha 10 years ago and led a happy life until the tragedy struck the family. He is survived by his wife and an eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.
Inspired by many others from his village, who had joined the army, Praveen, who completed his graduation, joined the army about 17 years ago in the Madras Regiment-18. He served as Commando in NSG for almost three years and was also part of the battalion in Poonch sector.
Praveen Kumar was working as a havildar and was part of the team, which had gone to neutralise the militants on Sunday. In the encounter, in addition to Indian soldiers and an army officer, three terrorists were also killed.
According to his relatives from Reddyvaripalle, Praveen's family members were expecting his visit for the Sankranti festival. They recalled his earlier visit to the village and said that he used to spend most of his time with friends and family members in a cheerful way.
“Praveen has been an inspiration to many youngsters in the village to join the army. He constantly encouraged the youth to join the armed forces. It is a terrible loss to both the family and the village. He was a great human being”, a relative of Praveen said.
The Defence ministry paid tributes to the soldier. His mortal remains would be shifted from Machil sector to New Delhi and from there to his native village.
The last rites are likely to be performed at his native place Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister K. Narayana Swamy, Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, MP N. Reddeppa and Puthalapattu MLA M.S. Babu visited the village on Monday and consoled the family members of the martyred soldier.
They said that Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has assured Rs. 50 lakh assistance to the aggrieved family.