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George salve for jawan kin

Akbarpur (Bihar), Feb. 11 (PTI): Defence minister George Fernandes today met the family of armyman Amitesh alias Madhukar Sharma, who was killed in an alleged police encounter at Paliaganj near here.

On his arrival here from Delhi, Fernandes, accompanied by Union minister C.P. Thakur, drove straight from the Bihta airforce station to the jawan’s home. During his hour-long stay, the defence minster spoke to the slain jawan’s father, Avadesh Sharma, and his pregnant wife, Pramila, who was inconsolable.

“The armed forces are one big family... I understand your grief... We stand by you in this moment of grief,” he told Pramila, three months pregnant, as the minister cuddled their three-year-old-son who wept aloud seeing his mother cry.

Fernandes asked Pramila if she had applied for a job on compassionate grounds. The widow did kept silent, but her father-in-law replied that she would. He said he also expected some compensation from the army for bringing up the children of his slain son.

Avadesh Sharma, a primary schoolteacher whose other son is in the air force, said he and Madhukar had gone to the bank at Paliaganj on February 4 to withdraw money for his son’s return to Sriganganagar. As the bank was crowded, he stayed back and asked Madhukar to go and see their house under construction nearby.

“A little later I was informed that my son had been shot in an encounter with police,” the father said.

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