NEW DELHI Feb 16: Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Jammu and Kashmir top police officer Dilbagh Singh today carried the coffin of a CRPF soldier who was killed in the car bombing in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama yesterday.
The Home Minister, who has assured the country that the government will "undertake whatever it takes to avenge this", carried the coffin wrapped in the national flag on his shoulder, as the Director General of Police lifted another side of the coffin and walked together, helped by other officials.
"The nation will not forget the supreme sacrifice of our brave CRPF jawans. I have paid my last respects to the martyrs of Pulwama.
The sacrifice will not go in vain," Mr Singh said in Budgam, 30 km from Srinagar, where he arrived at 2 pm today.
After taking the coffin near a truck that will take the bodies to Srinagar airport, where a special aircraft will fly them out, Rajnath Singh stood in silence beside other officials including Governor Satya Pal Malik, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, CRPF Director General RR Bhatnagar and Dilbagh Singh.
The soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed yesterday when their convoy was hit by a massive car bomb -- packed with 60 kg of explosives -- on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district.
This was the worst terror attack to take place in Jammu and Kashmir since the start of the century.
As the country stood united and mourned the deaths of the soldiers in the attack claimed by the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, the CRPF in its first official reaction today said the "heinous attack will be avenged".
"We will not forget, we will not forgive. We salute our martyrs of Pulwama attack and stand with the families of our martyr brothers..." tweeted the central force that works under the aegis of Rajnath Singh's ministry.
The families of the soldiers who died in the attack have asked the Modi government to avenge the deaths.
"I want to tell the terrorists and their backers... they have made a big mistake. You will have to pay a very heavy price... I assure everyone that the forces behind the attack... We will bring them to justice," PM Modi said in Delhi today.
The father of a CRPF soldier from Bihar who died yesterday has said he is ready to sacrifice his other son as well for the country. Ratan Thakur was among the 40 CRPF soldiers killed in the car bombing.
His grieving father in Bihar's Bhagalpur said he is going to send his other son to fight for the country even after losing one son "in Mother India's service".