Colonel Bikkamalla Santosh Babu, one of the twenty Indian army personnel who lost his life in a violent clash with the Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh's Galwan valley on Monday night, had promised his ageing parents to be home, with them in a month's time.
Colonel Santosh, Commanding Officer of the 16th battalion of Bihar Regiment, however, could not leave. According to reports, first due to the nation-wide coronavirus lockdown and then due to rising tensions on the Indo-China border.
Col Babu who hailed from Suryapet district in Telangana is survived by his wife Santoshi, nine-year-old daughter Abhigna and four-year-old son Anil, who are residing in Delhi.
The Colonel's parents B Upender and Manjula are in a state of deep shock since they were expecting him to return with his wife and children, but the news of his death made way to their home on Tuesday, June 16.
"Santoshi and the children were packing to shift to Hyderabad from Delhi, and the children told us how excited they were that we would be nearer. We were aware of the tensions at the border but never imagined this would happen," B Upender told The Indian Express.
His father narrated the family's ordeal on receiving the news and said that they could not come to terms with the news of their only son's death but later were informed by the higher authorities on what had transpired on the border.
"Our son faced many challenges," said his father, reported NDTV.
"I could not join the army and serve my country. So I wanted my son to join the defence forces and serve our country although my relatives discouraged the idea," he said.
Reports suggest that the Colonel had spoken to his mother on Sunday and the conversation centred around the tensions at the Indo-China border, he said that since the issue was a sensitive subject, he could not discuss it with them.
"I am proud my son sacrificed his life for our country, but as a mother, I am devastated. He was the kind of person who wouldn't think twice before putting his life in danger to save someone else's. He was like that since childhood… It is yet to sink in that he is no more; that he won't greet me with 'Amma' again in his booming voice," his mother told the Indian Express.
The publication also stated that his mortal remains are expected to reach his native on Wednesday. Colonel Babu had joined the Army in 2004 and was first posted in Jammu and Kashmir, according to his father.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao expressed his grief over the death of Colonel Santosh Babu.
Hon'ble CM conveyed heartfelt condolences to bereaved family members of Col Santosh and extended all support from the Govt. Instructed Minister Sri Jagadish Reddy to receive mortal remains of Col Santosh and to participate in the last rites as the State Govt representative.— Telangana CMO (@TelanganaCMO) June 16, 2020
CM Sri KCR has expressed shock and grief over the martyrdom of Col Bikkumalla Santosh Babu, resident of Suryapet, in the skirmish perpetrated by China near Indo-China border. Hon'ble CM termed Col Santosh's sacrifice for the nation as invaluable.— Telangana CMO (@TelanganaCMO) June 16, 2020