"I am really proud... I'll love you till my last breath," the message of love and pride from a widowed army wife today won over the terror and fear Pakistan-based extremist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed hoped to instill in India. While paying last respects to Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, who died fighting terrorists in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, his wife saluted her husband's sacrifice with a heartfelt message.
"I am really proud. We all love you. The way you love everyone is entirely different because you sacrifice your life for the people who you may have never contacted, but still you decided to give your life for them," Major Dhoundiyal's wife Nikita Kaul said in a posthumous message to her husband.
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"You are such a brave man. I am very honoured to have you as my husband. I'll love you till my last breath. I owe my life to you. Yes it's hurting that you're leaving but I know you will always be around," she said.
Nikita appealed to the nation not to sympathise and 'rather be very strong'. "I will request everyone not to sympathise, rather be very strong because this man holds a position very larger than any of us standing here. Let's salute this man. Jai Hind."
Thousands of people paid their last respects to Major Dhoundiyal at his residence in Dehradun. His mother Saroj, a cardiac patient, his wife Nikita, whom he had married less than a year ago, and a host of relatives and friends were crying inconsolably as Major Dhoundiyal's coffin was kept for people to pay their last respects before being taken to Haridwar for the last rites.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat placed a wreath on the coffin amid cries of "Shaheed Dhoundiyal Amar Rahein" and "Vande Mataram".
People had climbed to rooftops and also stood on either side of the road leading to the officer's residence.
Major Dhoundiyal's body, draped in the tricolour, was brought home late on Monday night and the funeral will be done with full military honours in Haridwar later in the day.
The news of his death had come as the last rites of Major Chitresh Bisht, who died defusing a mine near the LoC in Rajouri district, were still underway in Haridwar on Monday.
Prominent among those who turned up to pay their last respects Major Dhoundiyal included state cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj, ex-MP Tarun Vijay, state assembly Speaker Premchand Agarwal, BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi and Dehradun Mayor Sunil Uniyal Gama.
(With inputs from agencies)