Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today wrote to the bereaved wife of Major Mukund Varadarajan, who was killed in an encounter with terrorists in Shopian area of Kashmir last Friday, calling the young officer "a brave son" and "courageous soldier."
In a letter to Indhu Rebecca Verghese, she said, "I know this is an extremely traumatic and tragic time in your life.
You have lost a dear and devoted husband; your young daughter, her beloved father, and his parents, their adored son." "Yet it is a matter of great pride that he (Major Varadarajan) made the supreme sacrifice while protecting his Motherland, in the best traditions of the Indian Army. In Major Mukund Varadharajan's death, the people of Tamil Nadu have lost a brave son; India has lost a courageous soldier." The Chief Minister said, "On behalf of the government of Tamil Nadu, I convey my most profound condolences and pray to the Almighty to give you, your child and Major Varadharajan's parents, the strength to bear this irreparable loss. May his soul rest in peace."
Major Mukund Varadarajan, a native of nearby Tambaram, joined the 22 Rajput after training at the Officers' Training Academy here. He had been deployed with the 44 Rashtriya Rifles for counter-insurgency operations in Shopian.
Jayalalithaa had earlier condoled the officer's death and announced a solatium of Rs 10 lakh to the bereaved family.
The mortal remains of the officer would be flown to Chennai on board an Air India flight, sources said, adding that a military funeral was being organised tomorrow.
The encounter, in which the Major and another jawan lost their lives, ended yesterday morning. Bodies of three militants were also recovered.
Security forces had launched search operations in Karewa Malino in Shopian, 55 km from Srinagar on April 25 on information about presence of three militants — two locals and a foreigner.
The militants were asked to surrender but they resorted to firing, triggering the gunfight.
Shopian is part of Anantnag Parliamentary constituency and the encounter took place a day after militants attacked a polling party escorted by police and CRPF in the district at the end of the voting on Thursday.
One polling officer was killed while five others, including three security personnel, were injured in the incident.