Wife of Odia JCO killed at Galwan valley yet to know of husband's death

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Among the 20 Indian Army personnel killed during the face-off with Chinese Army at Galwan Valley in Ladakh on Monday, was Odisha’s Nandu Ram Soren, a Naib Subedar deployed in 16 Bihar Regiment.

Soren, a 43-year-old Santhali tribal hailing from Champauda village of Bijatala block in Mayurbhanj district had joined the army in 1997 and was the only earning member of his extended family. “He was the eldest among us 4 brothers and used to help us financially. As our parents are no more, he was the head of the family,” said his younger brother Daman Soren.

Daman said Ram’s wife and three daughters who stay in Rairangpur town, about 3 km away, are yet to be told about his demise. “I don’t think she can bear the loss. We are dreading to pass on the news to her,” he said. Soon after news filtered in, local BJP MLA Naba Charan Majhi visited Soren’s family to console the grieving brothers.

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Nandu Ram’s senior in Bihar regiment and his native friend, Mahendra Nath Mahanta said both of them had met at Mayurbhanj six months ago when on leave from duty. Mahanta retired from 154 TA Battalion under 16 Bihar Regiment this month.

“Both of us served in the same unit for about 8 years. I spoke to him two months ago when he called up. I can’t believe he is not any more. He had promised to meet me next time he visited home,” said Mahanta.

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The retired army man said soon after he heard about the death of Nandu Ram, he found it difficult to control his rage. “What China has done is nothing less than back stabbing. In Indian Army we are taught to look the enemy in the eye and fight. We never hit from the back. We have to teach China a lesson,” said Mahanta.

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