02 January 2018
Bhubaneswar: The body of Odia braveheart Pradeep Panda who was martyred during a militant attack in Kashmir on Sunday, landed at Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) here on Tuesday night.
The hero of the soil, who encountered the terrorists valiantly before falling to their bullets, was given a second guard of honour at the BPIA after the tricolour covered coffin was brought out of the airport premises.
Pradeep's family members, friends, relatives, ex-defence personnel and a huge crowd gathered at the airport to give their final salute to the martyr. The surroundings reverberated with slogans of 'Shaheed Pradeep Panda amar rahe.'
While the guard of honour here was organised by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a large posse of State police also joined voluntarily to offer their tributes to Pradeep.
After the commencement of ceremonial procedures, the body was shifted to a flower-laden vehicle, which left for Pradeep's native, Liploi village under Rajgangpur Tehsil in Sundargarh district.
His last rites will be conducted at Liploi on Wednesday when a platoon of CRPF and district police will give the final guard of honour to the martyr. A CRPF team and officials of Sundergarh district accompanied the body on its way to Liploi, said sources.
Meanwhile, a pall of gloom has descended on the district, especially in Pradeep’s native place. His family members comprising of parents, a son and wife who is carrying, are inconsolable.
"My son is still alive. He has not died. Pradeep promised us to celebrate New Year together, and I am sure that he will come soon," the martyr's mother said, sobbing.
Pradeep along with his four other soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Lathpora area in the wee hours on Sunday. CRPF's Commanding Officer (CO) had informed media that Panda's body was recovered from the scene only after a fierce round of cross-firing ended.
After neutralising the third terrorist, who was hiding in the camp, we could bring Pradeep's body out. The body was flown from Pulwama to Bhubaneswar via Delhi after post mortem and essential formalities were completed.
Son of Pitamber Panda of Liploi, martyred Pradeep had joined the paramilitary force in 2006 and was serving with 132 Battalion of CRPF.