People at Assam’s Kalabari bid teary farewell to CRPF head constable killed in Pulwama

Kalabari/Guwahati: The mortal remains of CRPF Head Constable Maneswar Basumatari, killed in the Pulwama terror attack, was consigned to the flames in his native village in Assam’s Baksa district with full state honours on Saturday.

The tricolour draped wooden coffin bearing Basumatari’s mortal remains was placed on the funeral pyre set up by the CRPF under a national flag in front of his house in Kalabari village.

The last rites of the head constable was performed as per Bodo ethnic community customs with full state honours in the presence of ministers Pramila Rani Brahma and Chandra Mohan Patowary.

Basumatari is survived by wife, daughter and son.

The head constable was among the 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel killed in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

Basumatari’s college going daughter Didmaswari told reporters, “I will join my father’s CRPF if the government gives me a job to serve my country”.

“My father always told me to study well and work hard to do well in my life. Yes, I am ready to work in the CRPF if the government gives me a job in the force”, she said.

She said she would join her father’s CRPF-98 Battalion.

Didmaswari demanded that a befitting reply be given to those responsible for the Pulwama terror attack.

“Only if the Government of India takes action against his killers will my father’s soul rest in peace”, she said.

She also said the government has to look after her family.

Basumatari’s son Dhananjay also echoed his sister’s demand of a “befitting reply” even if that means carrying out a surgical strike.

“We want justice. The perpetrators must be punished for killing my father, our jawans,” Dhananjay said.

The head constable’s wife Sunmati said that Basumatari had recently visited his village and the last phone call she had received from her husband was on the day before the attack.

She said he informed her that he was going to Jammu to join duty and would return home within 15 days.

Hundreds of people gathered at Basumatari’s village to pay their last respects.

Slogans like “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, “Vande Mataram”, “CRPF Zindabad” and “Maneswar Basumatari Zindabad” rented the air in Kalabari as the CRPF jawan’s body was consigned to the flames.

The coffin had earlier arrived in Guwahati by a special Indian Air Force aircraft for the last rites and was received at the air force’s airport.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Chandra Mohan Patowary, Guwahati MP Bijoya Chakraborty, Congress president Ripun Bora, Chief Seretary Alok Kumar and Director General of Police, Assam, Kula Saikia, among others paid homage.

Senior CRPF, Army, Air Force and other government officials along with political party leaders laid wreaths on the coffin.

The coffin was then taken by a special air force helicopter for Basumatari’s village.

Sonowal and Sarma were the pallbearers carrying the coffin to the special helicopter.

Speaking to reporters at the airport, Sonowal said, “I pray to almighty for peace of Maneswar Basumatari’s soul. The nation will unitedly fight for protection of the sovereignty of our country.”

“His sacrifice along with the other CRPF jawans will not go in vain. We are united to fight those anti national forces for ensuring the security of our country,” he said.

Sarma said the army and security forces have been given free hand by the prime minister and victory will be achieved.

Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohilary visited the bereaved family and assured them that his organisation would look after them if the central or state government does not do so.

He told reporters that the Centre should give permission to the army to go on the offensive against Pakistan-based terrorists

“If the central government wants I can send 500 Bodo youths on salary from BTC to J&K to give offensive fight to terrorists from Pakistan,” said Mohilary, who is also president of the Bodo Peoples Front an alliance partner of the ruling BJP in Assam.

In Guwahati, Jorhat and Tinsukia districts, traders shut their business establishments in honour of CRPF jawans.

Protests against the terror attack was held in Guwahati, Tinsukia and Jorhat.

Governor Jagdish Mukhi condemned the attack and expressed his condolences

Sonowal also announced a grant of Rs 20 lakh to the family of Basumatari.