In Kapurthala’s Mana Talwandi village, 13-year-old Vikramjit Singh lit the pyre of his father, Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh, as thousands turned up to pay their final tributes to the soldier who was among the five soldiers killed in a fierce gunfight with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch.
In Gurdaspur and Rupnagar districts, families of Naik Mandeep Singh and Sepoy Gajjan Singh, who were also killed in the same operation on Monday, were also inconsolable as they paid bid adieu to both soldiers.
Slogans of ‘Shaheed Amar Rahe’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ rent the air as military vehicles carrying the mortal remains of the three soldiers reached their respective villages. Anti-Pakistan slogans were also raised.
Villagers showered flower petals on the military vehicles.
In Mana Talwandi village, Jaswinder’s son Vikramjit and daughter Harnoor Kaur (11) saluted their father’s mortal remains. A teary-eyed Vikramjit lit his father’s pyre and later pledged to join the Army. Jaswinder was the third member of his family to join the Army after his father and his brother. Punjab Cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh laid a wreath on behalf of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. Besides scores of villagers, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira and district administration officials attended Jaswinder’s last rites.
Deputy Commissioner Deepti Uppal handed over a condolence message sent by the Governor of Punjab, Banwarilal Purohit, to the family members of soldier.
Rana Gurjit Singh said that as per the announcement made by the Punjab Chief Minister, the family of Jaswinder Singh would be given Rs 50 lakh as ex-gratia grant besides a government job to a family member. He also urged the Union Government to extend maximum assistance to the family.
Jaswinder, who was awarded the Sena Medal in 2006, is survived by his wife and two children.
Similar heart-rending scenes unfolded at the residence of Sepoy Gajjan Singh in Rupnagar’s Pachranda village. Chief Minister Channi shouldered the mortal remains Gajjan. The youngest of four brothers, Gajjan, 27, got married in February. Besides his wife Harpreet Kaur, he is survived by his parents.
He had last visited home two months back to attend the wedding of one of his brothers. Gajjan’s father, Channan Singh, who lit his son’s funeral pyre, demanded that a gate be erected at the entry of the village in memory of his son so that the future generations can be inspired by his sacrifice. Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh, MLA Amarjit Singh Sandoa and Punjab Youth Congress president Barinder Singh Dhillon also attended the last rites of the slain soldier.
In Gurdaspur’s Chhatha Shira village, family of Naik Mandeep Singh, 30, struggled to come to terms with its loss. His family members wept as his mortal remains home wrapped in the tricolour days before his 31st birthday on October 16. According to Mandeep’s family members, he was expected to come home soon. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
While his elder son is aged 3, the younger one is just a month old. His wife Mandeep Kaur said she will make both her sons join the Army like their father. One of Mandeep’s brothers is also serving in the Army. Punjab Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Batala MLA Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, among others were present at Mandeep’s cremation. The state government had on Monday announced an ex gratia of Rs 50 lakh and a government job each for the families of the three soldiers.