Pradeep was a mediocre student. But he always aspired to join the armed forces like his elder brother, who retired last year. Pradeep joined the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in 2003 after many futile attempts. And from then, he too became a role model for other youngsters in the village, which include his two sons, who are now 12 and 17.
On the evening of February 14, we received the news about Pradeep’s martyrdom. My world came to a standstill. He reported back to work just two days before he was killed. He was here to attend his cousin’s wedding.
When Pradeep’s sons came to hear of their father’s supreme sacrifice, they refused to believe it. For two days they were in denial. But when the news sunk in all they have been talking about is avenging their father’s death.
The Indian Air Force strikes on the terror camps in Pakistan have acted as a balm to our wounds. We held a celebratory march in our locality, and families also took a pledge to send at least one youth to the armed forces for the service of the country. My grandsons celebrated too, by bursting crackers. It was a proud and emotional moment for me, when they climbed up on the roof to declare that they too will join the forces. Several other youngsters rushed to the roof to join them.
We want to thank the government for their efforts and want them to end this cross-border terrorism once and for all. My son laid his life for the country and this makes me swell with pride. My elder son plans to impart free training to the youths of our district, who dream of joining the armed forces.