Four years after she lost her husband to illness came a blow so devastating she might never recover. Saroj Bala’s two sons were among the seven people killed when terrorists struck their village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, shattering every dream, smashing all hope.
On Sunday, her 21-year-old son Prince Sharma lost his battle for life and died at Jammu’s Government Medical College hospital where he had been admitted with bullet injuries after the January 1 attack in Dhangri village. New Year’s Day was also when his brother, 27-year-old Deepak, was killed when terrorists opened fire at their home.
The grief of losing her second son even as she was mourning the first has left her heartbroken.
“I have been left alone. Who will talk to me now? My world has ended. I have lost everything in life,” the inconsolable Bala said as the mortal remains of her younger son were consigned to flames at the Dhangri cremation ground on Sunday.
Thousands of people joined her in mourning the death of the young man.
Terrorists had struck Dhangri late in the evening on January 1, targeting three homes before fleeing the scene. They left behind an improvised explosive device (IED) that went off the next morning outside the Sharma house.
While Deepak and three others died the first day, two children, Vihaan Kumar Sharma (four) and Samiksha Sharma (16), from the same family were killed in the IED explosion on day two. Fifteen people were injured, including Prince.
Bala, who was just coming to terms with the death of her husband, said there is nothing to look forward too. Her dreams of seeing her sons getting married and settling down in their jobs have crashed.
In a cruel twist of fate, Deepak, who had been selected for a job in the Indian Army’s ordnance department, was cremated last week Tuesday, the very day he was set to join his work in Leh.
Prince was serving in the Jal Shakti department, a job he landed following the death of his father Rajinder Kumar Sharma, an employee of the department who died four years ago.
“Both my sons would sit with me every day. We would have long discussions on family issues. My life has no value now. Everything has gone with the death of my children,” the despairing mother said.
Battling the grief of losing both her sons, the 58-year-old recalled the hardships faced by the family, especially during the treatment of her husband. His disease had put a lot of pressure on her sons who made every effort to save him, she said.
“We were expecting good days ahead but the terrorists snatched all our happiness.” The grieving woman remembered how she cooked for her sons, how she made their beds and the many hours they spent planning a better future for the family.
Sushil Kumar, her nephew, said the extended family kept the news of Prince’s death from her as long as they could. She had been waiting for Deepak’s ashes to take them to Haridwar and came to know that Prince had died too only when his body reached the village Sunday afternoon.
“Even we cannot share her pain… the terrorists did not think once before targeting innocent civilians and devastating many families,” Kumar said.
Dheeraj Sharma, sarpanch of the village, said the there can no bigger tragedy for any family.
“This entire family is devastated now. Only the mother is left and she has lost both her unmarried young sons in the attack. She is all alone now,” he said.
The family will now immerse the ashes of both brothers next week.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)