Tezpur, Sept. 12: In life, Naruttam Deuri tried hard, said his neighbours and relatives, to make things as good as he could for his family with what he earned as a navy sailor.
In death, the 21-year-old, who perished with the submarine INS Sindhurakshak on the Mumbai naval docks on August 14, managed to provide his family a much-needed tin roof over their heads and freedom from moneylenders.
Assam water resources minister Rajiv Lochan Pegu, who attended Naruttam’s cremation today on behalf of the state government at the sailor’s village, Major Chapori in Narayanpur sub-division of Lakhimpur district,handed over Rs 1 lakh to his family to get their land released from moneylenders. He also directed the deputy commissioner to build them a house.
The family currently lives in a thatched hut and their 3bigha plot of agricultural land is heavily mortgaged.
Naruttam’s uncle Mohesh said, “He has helped his family even in death by securing their farmland and giving them a proper house. He always thought of others and will be sorely missed.”
Pegu gave the family an additional Rs 50,000 for Naruttam’s shraddha on September 25.
The Lakhimpur district administration and the Deuri Autonomous Council have pledged Rs 1 lakh each towards construction of the family’s house.
The sailor was given a befitting farewell. Thousands attended his last journey from the Narayanpur inspection bungalow to the Major Chapori LP School, where he was cremated with full state honours.
According to local residents, Bihpuria legislator Bhupen Kumar Borah played a leading role in organising the last rites.
Naruttam’s last journey started around 11am from the inspection bungalow, where his body was kept after its arrival last evening from LGBI airport in Guwahati, and ended around 3pm on the premises of the school he had attended as a child — a distance of around 5km.
Students, state government officials, police officers, the GOC, 56 Mountain Division, and navy officers paid their last respects to the sailor along with members of AASU, AJYCP, Deuri Students’ Union and Deuri Autonomous Council and local political leaders.
He was cremated at 1.45pm on a nine-layered pyre — an honour otherwise reserved only for the head priest (Bor Deuri) of the community.
The two officers from the navy, who had accompanied his casket from Mumbai, will meet the family members tomorrow.