Ganesh Kunjam, a resident of a nondescript village in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district, last came home in January this year.
The parents of the 27-year-old Indian Army soldier had fixed his wedding during that visit to Kukurtola in Bastar region of the state.
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He was among the 20 soldiers who lost their lives in the clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh on Monday night.
“In January, his parents fixed his marriage… He was going to be married on his next visit,” Surya Nevendra, a childhood friend of Ganesh’s, said.
“His parents and his uncle live in a joint family. He had recently built a house and spent about Rs 10 lakh of his savings,” said Navendra.
Tiharu Ram Kunjam, Ganesh’s uncle, said he got a call from an army official who told him about his nephew’s death.
“He was speaking from Kashmir and said that Ganesh had got martyred on the China border. He told us to watch TV and when I switched on the TV, I got to know about three deaths, which did not include Ganesh,” Tiharu Ram said while speaking to reporters.
“Ganesh has two sisters. One of them is married and another sister lives in Pune,” Tiharu Ram said and added that Ganesh had joined the army in 2011.
Ganesh was in regular touch with his uncle but for the last one month, he had not made any phone calls.
“Ganesh talked to me about one month ago. He told me that he going to be posted to some other place. Since then I was trying every day but was unable to contact him,” said Tiharu Ram.
He said the officer who called him informed that his nephew’s body will reach Kanker by Wednesday evening.
MR Ahire, Kanker’s superintendent of police, said he got the information about Ganesh’s death from his family members.
“We are gathering more information. I have no official confirmation from authorities,” Ahire said.
Chhattisgarh’s health minister TS Singh Deo condoled Ganesh Kunjam’s death on Twitter.
“My tributes to Shri Ganesh Ram Kunjam from Kanker, Chhattisgarh who made the supreme sacrifice in Ladakh along with 20 of our brave soldiers defending our country. My thoughts are with their families in this moment of grief,” Singh Deo tweeted.
The confrontation between the two armies came after tensions between India and China first flared up in early May following clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim and Ladakh sectors of the LAC. Both the sides have held a series of talks to resolve the six-week-long issue.
Indian Army officials claimed 43 Chinese were killed or seriously injured, citing radio intercepts and other intelligence. HT couldn’t independently verify this.