The nation on Friday saluted the 23-year-old Nepali soldier who laid down his life while gallantly fighting the Pakistan-backed infiltrators on the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowgam sector of Kupwara district on Thursday. Three infiltrators were later gunned down in the encounter.

Rifleman Tara Bahadur Roka is the fourth Nepali soldier to have laid down his life for the nation since May 22, when three Nepali soldiers killed four inflitrators before being martyred. Born on January 1, 1994, the braveheart from Dang, Nepal served in the Indian Army for only two years.

“He was a very motivated soldier and had impressed us all with his vigor, courage and devotion to duty. Rifleman Tara Bahadur Roka attained martyrdom on June 8 during a counter-infiltration operation in which three armed intruders were eliminated,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.

There was an aura of patrotism when the troops sounded the last post to remember the soldier on Friday. Minister of State for defence Dr Subhash Bhamre led the event to pay tributes.

“Laying wreath on behalf of a proud nation, the Hon’ble Minister saluted the hero’s sacrifice and expressed his condolences to the his family. Roka is survived by his parents,” said Colonel Kalia.

Lieutenant General JS Sandhu, Chinar Corps Commander led the army to pay glowing tributes to the martyr. Officials from the other security agencies, including Dr SP Vaid, the Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, also paid homage to Roka.

“The mortal remains of the martyr will be taken to Subathu in Himachal Pradesh for last rites with full military honours,” said Colonel Kalia.

The three Nepali soldiers who had given up their lives on May 22 are Havaldar Giris Gurung, 38, from village Nagidhar in Kaski, Havaldar Damar Bahadur Pun from Karaing Tun village in Gulmi, and Rifleman Rabin Sharma, 23, from Chuwa village in Parbat district, Nepal.

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