India-China face-off: 'My son is a hero', says martyred Colonel Santosh Babu's mother

Chennai/Hyderabad: Passion and poverty drove the 40-year-old Indian Army soldier K Palani from Kadukkalur village in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu to join the armed forces at the age of 18. Colonel Santosh Babu, Palani and sepoy Ojha were martyred on June 15 during “violent clashes” with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.

Shock dawned upon the family when the news of Palani's death at the Indo-Chinese border in Ladakh reached them. The brave havildar had planned to retire from the Army next year, having served on the country’s borders for 22 years.

Palani is survived by his wife P Vanathi Devi (35) and two children, a son aged 10 and an eight-year-old daughter. Palani's mortal remains are expected to reach his native village in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, Colonel Santosh Babu belonged to Suryapet district in Telangana. He is survived by his wife Santhoshi, and two children Abhigna (9) and Anirudh (4). After the family received the information regarding his martyrdom, his mother B Manjula felt proud and happy as he laid down his life for the country. “My son is a hero, he is my only son. This piece of news hurts my family, but my son proved to be a hero of the nation,” she said. Santosh’s parents live in Suryapet district while his wife and children are living in Delhi.

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