21-gun salute, tearful adieu to Nagrota attack martyr Major Akshay

Bengaluru: Hundreds of people, including army officers, friends and relatives, bid an emotional adieu here on Thursday to Major Akshay Girish Kumar, who was martyred in the gun battle when militants attacked an army base near Jammu.

The armed forces gave a 21-gun salute to the mortal remains of the 31-year-old soldier before the last rites with military honours in the city's northern suburb. Kumar was one of the seven army men, including five soldiers killed in the fierce gunfight inside the Nagrota Cantonment, which also houses the 16 Corps headquarters. Three militants were also killed in the attack. Earlier in the day, Kumar's mortal remains were flown in from Jammu via New Delhi in a military aircraft to the Yelahanka Air Force station on the city's outskirts. His parents -- retired Wing Commander Girish Kumar and mother Meghana -- and his widow Sangeetha and their two-and-half-year-old daughter Naina accompanied the cortege carrying the body. Besides Karnataka Law & Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra, many senior army and IAF officers and dignitaries paid their last respects and laid a wreath at the coffin draped in the tri-colour. A special ceremony was held with an army band paying glowing tributes to the slain officer at the air base before the body was taken to his house in Yelahanka for public viewing by hundreds of mourners from across the city. Jayachandra also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 25 lakh to Kumar's family on the occasion on behalf of the state government. Bengaluru-born Kumar was with the 51 Engineer Regiment of the Bengal Sappers. He entered the Indian Army after graduating from the National Defence Academy. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and others have condoled Kumar's tragic death. (IANS)