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Handwara martyr Col Ashutosh Sharma’s village drowns in pall of gloom

The entire village turned up to mourn the death of Col Ashutosh Sharma. Col Sharma, of 21 Rashtriya Rifles, was killed in a military operation in Handwara of Kashmir valley on Sunday along with four others, including a sub-inspector of police.

Swati Sharma | Meerut |

As soon as the news of the supreme sacrifice of Colonel Ashutosh Sharma spread, the villagers thronged his paternal house in Village Parwana Mahmodpur of Aurangabad area in district Bulandshahar on Sunday.

The entire village turned up to mourn the death of Col Ashutosh Sharma. Col Sharma, of 21 Rashtriya Rifles, was killed in a military operation in Handwara of Kashmir valley on Sunday along with four others, including a sub-inspector of police.

Dinesh Chandra Pathak, an uncle of Col Sharma, said that they came to know about this heart-rending news through some relatives at about 8 am on Sunday.

Since then the family members here are inconsolable, he added.

Col Ashutosh Sharma was the younger son of late Shambhu Dutt Pathak who was a soil conservation officer, told Uncle Nand Lal Pathak adding that the family has now shifted to Jaipur where his elder brother Piyush lives with mother Sudha Sharma besides wife and a 12-year-old daughter of Ashutosh.

“Initially it was thought that the last rites would be performed here in the village but now it has been decided that they would be performed in Jaipur,” said Nandlal Pathak who has now approached the district administration to issue passes to them so that they could go to Jaipur for the last rites.

The family members recalled him as a handsome man, simple in behaviour and who mixed with everyone in the village. “He was in the village about a year-and-a-half ago at the time of the ‘Arishti’ (post-death ceremony) of his grandmother,” said his cousin Lokesh Pathak.

Ashutosh completed his graduation from Bulandshahr, said Uncle Dinesh adding that since childhood he had lived with a dream of serving the country by joining the army. He was selected in the army in his sixth attempt but he never gave up in spite of successive failures. “Every time he was not selected he used to lock inside the bathroom and weep,” he said recalling old times.

Later, however, his brother Shambhu Dutt’s family moved to Jaipur as the elder brother Piyush got a job there in a pharmaceutical company where he is now working as a zonal manage, said¬† Dinesh adding that Ashutosh’s mother Sudha, however, visits the village every year in November and stays at their paternal house for about a month-and-a-half.

Col Ashutosh Sharma’s supreme sacrifice would always be remembered not only by people of this village but across the country and I am proud of being his brother, said Lokesh.

Col Ashutosh was a decorated officer and was twice awarded the gallantry medal for counter terrorism operations.