Thane, Aug 9 : Thousands of people, including grieving family members, bid a tearful goodbye to Major Kaustubh P. Rane, who was consigned to the flames with full military honours in his hometown here on Thursday afternoon.
Rane, 29, was among the four soldiers killed in a gunfight with terrorists near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipura district on Tuesday.
A stoic Prakash Rane lit the funeral pyre of his son while the soldier’s wife Kanika and minor son Agastya stood behind, amidst cries of “Major Kaustubh Rane Amar Rahe,” “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram” in Mira Road town.
A military band played the last post. Soldiers, police officials and elected representatives offered their last respects to the Major before the funeral pyre was lit.
Nearby, women soldiers consoled his mother Jyoti, his sister Kashyapi and other relatives who cried inconsolably.
Earlier on Thursday, Major Rane’s coffin, draped in the national tricolour, arrived at his hometown in an Army truck where it was received by the family, Army and civilian officials. It was flown to Mumbai late on Wednesday from Srinagar.
As the funeral cortege wend its way through the town, thousands lined the roads on both sides or waited on buildings and terraces, showering flowers and waving the Indian flag.
Since Tuesday, the Mira Road township was in mourning over the death of the Major who lived over 25 years in Sheetal Nagar area, barely five kilometres north of Mumbai.
Large parts of the town observed a spontaneous shutdown as a mark of respect as the funeral procession journeyed from the Rane home in Sheetal Nagar to the Mira-Bhayander crematorium.
The only son of his parents, Rane fulfilled his childhood dreams of joining the armed forces by completing his military training from Pune and was commissioned as an officer from the elite Officers Training Academy, Chennai, in 2011.
Rane was decorated with the Sena Gallantry Medal by President Ram Nath Kovind on the 69th Republic Day celebrations this year.