Colonel Santosh Babu, the army officer who died for the country on Monday night, was to be transferred to Hyderabad but the move was delayed by the coronavirus lockdown. He last spoke to his mother on Sunday, a day before he was killed in a violent face-off with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh.
Colonel Santosh Babu from Telangana and two jawans, Havildar Palani from Tamil Nadu and Sepoy Ojha from Jharkhand, were among 20 soldiers killed in the first fatal clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers since 1975.
Santosh Babu’s wife, daughter and son are in Delhi.
The Colonel’s parents B Upender and Manjula are in deep shock. He was their only son.
“At first, we didn’t believe it but later higher authorities told us what had happened. Our son faced many challenges,” B Upender, a retired banker, told news agency ANI this morning.
He said he always wanted his son to join the army, something he could not do. “I could not join the army and serve my country. So I wanted my son to join the defence forces and serve our country though my relatives discouraged the idea,” he said.
Santosh Babu was in the 16 Bihar regiment as Commanding Officer.
In his phone-call on Sunday evening with his mother, he seemed concerned about the border tension but he said it could not be discussed as it was a sensitive subject. “I told him to be careful,” said his father.
“I am both sad and proud. My son has laid down his life for the country. As a mother I am sad. He was my only son,” Colonel Babu’s mother Manjula said.
Colonel Babu 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 Babu.
“Colonel Santosh has sacrificed his life for the nation and his sacrifice cannot be valued in any terms,” said the Chief Minister, announcing that his government would support the family anyway it could.
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