India mourned the deaths of 20 soldiers who were killed during a confrontation with their Chinese counterparts in Ladakh as their bodies reached their hometowns on Wednesday, reported PTI. The clash along the Line of Actual Control that claimed the lives of the 20 Indians has also given rise to anti-China sentiment across the country.

Tensions between India and China reached an all-time high after at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in Ladakh on the intervening night of June 15 and June 16. This is the first instance of casualties on the Line of Actual Control since 1975. It came amidst a “de-escalation” process in the Galwan area that was started last week, after a month-long standoff between troops at several points along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and Sikkim. Though some reports said that around 40 Chinese soldiers died during these clashes, there is no official confirmation yet.

The body of Colonel B Santosh Babu, one of the 20 soldiers killed during the clash, reached Hyderabad’s Suryapet town on a special flight. People paid their respects by holding the tricolour and showering flowers as Babu’s body passed through the town. Among those paying their last respects were Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and state minister KT Rama Rao.

Also read:

  1. Taking on China’s expansionism won’t be easy, but transparency by India with its citizens would help
  2. Will the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers finally force Modi to be frank with the public about China?

States announce aid for soldiers’ families

Several states have announced compensation to the families of the soldiers.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assured financial aid of Rs 5 lakh and a government job to the families of the two soldiers from the state. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik promised Rs 25 lakh to the two jawans from his state.

Punjab’s Chief Minister Amarinder Singh provided an aid of Rs 12 lakh and a government job to the next of kin of the soldier while his Tamil Nadu counterpart K Palaniswami announced aid of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the soldier, K Pazhani.

Anti-China protests across the country

Demonstrations were seen in several cities, including Delhi, and Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, Surat, and Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, as people shouted anti-China slogans and called for a boycott of Chinese products.

In Sepoy Ankush Thakur’s village in in Himachal Pradesh’s Hamirpur district, a large group gathered in protest against China and shouted slogans against the country. Thakur was among those killed during the altercation in Ladakh

In Delhi, the president of a Resident Welfare Association in an upscale neighbourhood declared a war on China. “Unfortunately we cannot take up guns and bullets but definitely there are other means,” the president was heard as saying in a five-minute audio clip, which is being widely shared on social media. “We can break China’s backbone economically and today I request you all, with immediate effect, shun Chinese goods and if you have any lying in your house, please throw them out.”

Residents of an apartment complex in Surat smashed what appeared to be a China-made television set in the presence of reporters to register their protest, according to NDTV.

The Confederation of All India Traders released a list of more than 500 Chinese products to be boycotted. The items included fast-moving consumer goods, consumer durables, toys, furnishing fabrics, textiles, builder hardware, footwear, apparel and kitchen items.

Demonstrations were taken out in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur-Basti area, with the district’s Bharatiya Janata Party workers along with members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini burnt an effigy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to PTI. The Congress’ youth wing, National Students’ Union of India, and Youth Congress members reportedly burnt a Chinese flag and Xi’s effigy at a gate of the DDU Gorakhpur University.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Jitendra Awhad called for the Delhi-Meerut Metro project to be scrapped as its contractor is a Chinese company. “After the talk of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ [self-reliant India], the contract has been awarded to a Chinese company,” he tweeted. “Who gave the contract? Under whose jurisdiction the Railways comes? Is it not the Centre?”

On Thursday, Awhad tweeted: “Today China has claimed [the] Galwan Valley as there integral part tomorrow they will claim Ladakh. It’s time for all Indians to speak on all platforms about [the] Line of control and show stiff resistance to Chinese aggression and give all possible support to [the] Indian Army.”