Havildar Rafi Mohammed of 608 EME Battalion has been serving his country for the past 12 years.Youngest among five brothers, Rafi followed in the footsteps of his elder brother Arif, who served in the Indian Army for over 26 years. The other two brothers worked as schoolteachers, and one brother took up farming.
Havildar Rafi belongs to Chandole, a village in Pittalavani Vani Palem mandal of Guntur district,it is a village of soldiers. About 500 youths from Chandole are serving the armed forces at various levels and ranks.
The Non Commissioned Officer is survived by his wife and two daughters aged 3 years and 7 months. He moved on posting to Kargil sector from Siliguri in West Bengal only last year.
Family members are in deep shock after learning about the encounter, and his wife fell unconscious even as the whole village gathered to console the family.
He had visited the village last January on leave and promised to visit again for Eid. Villagers recall their association with Rafi, saying he was a humble person, always ready to help the needy.
The tiny village of Chandole was eagerly looking for the holy crescent hours before the beginning of Ramzan on Wednesday evening, but instead had to make arrangements for the funeral of one of its sons who died in the line of duty.
The Army has made arrangements for mortal remains of Havildar Rafi Mohammad to arrive at Vijayawada Airport from New Delhi by air at 8 pm on Thursday. Thereafter, at night, the remains will be moved by road to his hometown for last rites.
The funeral will be conducted with full military honours at his native place on May 18. The family is making arrangements to conduct the final rites after Friday namaz.
The martyrdom of Havildar Rafi is a demonstration of the unity and the determination of people of India to defend the Country.
Thus love for the country is above everything. This should be seen by Pakistan as clear indication that they will never be able to divide and defeat India on basis of religion.