A pall of gloom descended on Kadukalur village, the native town of Army soldier K Palani, who was among those killed in a “violent face-off between Indian and Chinese Army” in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh on Monday.
As the news spread, his school classmates who lived in the village, some of his friends, relatives and well-wishers thronged the soldier’s house to console his family members on Tuesday.
Palani, 40, had joined the Army when he was 18. He had last visited his family in January. Born to Kalimuthu and Logambal, he was married to Vanathi Devi, 34, and has a son Prasanna, 10, and daughter Divya, 8.
“My son had recently told all of us here that for good he would be back in 12 months after serving the Army for 22 years. He had taken a home loan and built a house in our village Kazhuguoorani, for which we had a house-warming ceremony only on June 3,” Mr. Kalimuthu said.
He added, “Only 10 days ago, we all wished him good luck on his wedding day (June 6). After that we were not able to contact him as the mobile phone signal was weak at his end.”
Nachiappan, father-in-law of Palani, said that for the children’s education, they had taken a house on rent in Om Sakti Nagar in Ramanathapuram Town. Every time, he would enquire about each person in the family. He was very much concerned about the health of elders in the family. “With COVID-19 pandemic, Palani had cautioned his children to stay indoors,” he recalled.
His aged parents lived in their ancestral house near Thiruvadanai, while Palani’s younger brother Idayakani, 35, was also serving in Army in Rajasthan.
The district administration, which is preparing to accord state honours for the last rites of the jawan, said that they expected the mortal remains to be brought here by air from Chennai/Madurai on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and DMK president M.K. Stalin on Tuesday expressed condolences. “It is very saddening to hear that Palani, a native of Kadukkalur village in Ramanathapuram district died in the face-off with the Chinese. I express my condolences to the family of the brave soldier,” the Chief Minister said.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.S. Alagiri, PMK founder S. Ramadoss, MDMK general secretary Vaiko, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Tamil Maanila Congress president G.K. Vasan, MMK leader M H Jawahirullah and AISMK leader R Sarathkumar were among the leaders who expressed condolences to Palani’s family.