Sangli (Maharashtra) Oct 31: Thousands of residents of Dudhgaon and surrounding villages in the district on Monday bade a tearful adieu to its brave son, BSF trooper Nitin S. Koli, who was martyred while battling terrorists in Kupwara on Saturday.
Koli's final rites were performed after a police salute and with full military honours in the presence of a large number of police and military officials and civilians.
The entire area was plunged into grief since Saturday, as news of Border Security Force trooper, Koli's martyrdom reached here amid Diwali celebrations.
As the news spread, people voluntarily discarded the sweets and firecrackers in memory of Koli and an atmosphere of shock and sorrow prevailed in Dudhgaon and surrounding villages.
A two-kms long procession with a large number of men, women and youth, was also taken out from the village square to the banks of River Warna with the marchers raising cries of 'Nitin Koli Amar Rahe' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'.
Earlier, the martyr's body was brought from Jammu and Kashmir to Pune and then to Islampur town late on Sunday where it was kept for public 'darshan' at the local Circuit House. Among those who paid their respects were Pune guardian minister Girish Bapat.
At daybreak on Monday (today), it was taken in a military truck to his native Dudhgaon village for the last rites.
En route to the village, groups of young men and women with tearful eyes formed themselves in human chains and saluted as the funeral cortege with the body passed by.
Maharashtra Minister for Cooperation and Sangli guardian minister Chandrakant Patil, Minister of State Sadabhau Khot and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana chief Raju Shetti, district officials and others laid wreaths and paid homage to Koli.
Martyr Koli, who was married in 2010, is survived by his wife, two minor children, a younger brother and aged parents, all of them living as a joint family in Dudhgaon.