Two nondescript tribal villages in Odisha are mourning the deaths of their sons killed in a clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh amid tales of pride and sacrifice.
Chandrakanta Pradhan (28) hailed from Biarpanga village in Kandhamal district's Raikia block and Naib Subedar Nanduram Soren belonged to the Rairangpur area of Mayurbhanj.
Chandrakanta, who belonged to a tribal community, was among the 20 Indian soldiers killed in the violent clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley, Inspector in-charge of Raikia Police Station Alekha Garadia said.
"My son was highly sincere towards his duty. He was courageous, simple and hard working. We got the information about his martyrdom on Tuesday night," said Karunakar Pradhan, the slain jawan's father.
A marginal farmer, Pradhan said his unmarried son was the principal earner in the family. He has left behind two younger brothers and an elder sister, besides his mother.
Chandrakanta joined the Army in 2014, he said, adding that he had last visited home around two months ago.
"We feel proud that he has laid down his life for the motherland. We received the information about the tragedy at 11 pm on Tuesday. We are waiting for his body, which is expected to reach our village in a day or two," Pradhan said in a chocked voice.
Stating that the tragedy has devastated not only the family but also the entire village as Chandrakanta was very popular in the area, Pradhan said his son had called a few days ago and narrated the tense situation that prevailed at the place where they were deployed.
Similar was the scene at 43-year-old Soren's village in Bijatola block's Champauda in the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district.
After completing Class 12 from Rairangpur College, Soren joined the Army in 1997 as he was very keen to serve the motherland. He was sincere in his duty and worked in a dedicated manner, his elder brother Doman Majhi said.
Soren has left behind his wife and three school-going daughters, he said in a voice choked with emotion.
"We all feel shattered after receiving the message about his martyrdom. Nanduram was an asset for the family as well as the village. He was loved by all for his friendly nature," Majhi said.
The entire village is proud of his supreme sacrifice, M N Mahato, a villager, said.
The residents of the village and nearby areas are waiting for the body to arrive so that they can pay tributes to Soren, he added.