Pune: "Harshada, wife of martyred Indian Air Force (IAF) commando Sergeant Milind Khairnar, may join the defence force and we will support her," said Milind's father Kishor Khairnar on Wednesday.
Khairnar hails from Borale village in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra. He is survived by wife Harshada, daughter Vedika who studies in class II, two-year-old son Krishna, father Kishor and mother Sunanda. His brother Manoj is working with Mumbai Police.
His body will reach Nashik by a special aircraft on Thursday morning where a wraith-laying ceremony will be organised on behalf of the government to pay tribute. From there his body will be taken in a special van to his native village in Nandurbar.
“We are proud of his martyrdom. The government must take a firm decision to annihilate terrorists. It takes a lot to make a soldier ready to give his life for the country,” Milind's father told reporters in Nashik, where he is settled after retirement from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) in 2013.
He returned to Nashik on Tuesday from Chandigarh where Khairnar's wife and children live. “As he had gone to Kashmir for training 'without any leave and on 24 hours duty' basis, my wife and I went to Chandigarh to spend time with our daughter in-law and grandchildren. I had last seen him in April and last spoke to him Tuesday around 8.30 pm when I reached Nashik,” Kishor added.
While studying in SSVPS College, Dhule, Khairnar applied for recruitment in the IAF but he was kept on waitlist as he had not attained 18 years age. In 2002, while he was pursuing second year Bsc, he was called again and got recruited. He was also part of the Indian contingent for UN peacekeeping mission in Congo.
Participated in 26/11 Mumbai attack operation
Khairnar's father said Milind was part of operations at Nariman House in Mumbai during the 26/11 terrorist attack. “He had gone there from Delhi with his team. At Nariman House, he had slithered down from the helicopter along with other soldiers. He was there for 8-10 hours in the operations,” Kishor recalled.
Khairnar's wife may join forces
Khairnar's wife Harshada has studied MSc (IT) from Jai Hind College in Dhule. “Harshada may join the defence forces and our whole family will fully support her,” Kishor added.
After Pathankot, Garuds are training with Army
Khairnar and Corporal Nilesh Kumar Nayan from Bihar, both part of IAF's special forces unit Garud, were part of a joint security team with the Army. They were martyred in a gunfight during combined cordon and search operation in Hajin village of Bandipora district, in north Kashmir on Wednesday. Two terrorists, firing indiscriminately, ran towards the position of the Garud commandos, who challenged them and killed the two terrorists. After the Pathankot air base attack, it was decided that Garuds will operate with the Army for 'live situation training'. Accordingly, a 28-member Garud team joined the Army's Srinagar-based Chinar Corps in August for the six months training. The Garud commandos are tasked with protecting all critical bases and installations of the IAF across the country.