The first thing you notice is the fresh coat of mud that has been plastered on the exteriors of the kuchcha houses in Shergarh village near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. The drains have been cleaned too, and very recently. Truckloads of mud have been spread to make the dilapidated roads manageable for the visiting vvips.
On some grotesque level, it’s a Peepli Live moment for the village of decapitated soldier Lance Naik Hemraj. The media has arrived here in droves. There was another soldier victim of the January 8 incident, Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh, whose corpse was sent back to his village Dadhiya, in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district. But that hamlet is a long way away. Mathura, meanwhile, is less than 200 km from Delhi, hence the media spotlight on Hemraj’s village.