In Punjab, Tearful Farewell To Three Soldiers Killed In J&K Encounter

Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi shouldered the body of Sepoy Gajjan Singh

Kapurthala, Rupnagar, Gurdaspur: In a village in Punjab's Kapurthala district, a teary-eyed Vikramjit Singh (13) on Wednesday lit the pyre of his father Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh, who was among the five soldiers killed in a fierce gunfight with militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

In Gurdaspur and Rupnagar districts, the families of Naik Mandeep Singh and Sepoy Gajjan Singh, who were also killed in the operation on Monday, were also inconsolable.

Slogans of ''Shaheed Amar Rahe'' and ''Bharat Mata ki Jai'' rented the air as military vehicles carrying the bodies of the three soldiers reached their respective villages. Anti-Pakistan slogans were also raised.

Villagers, especially the youth, showered flower petals on the military vehicles.

In Kapurthala's Mana Talwandi village, Jaswinder's son Vikramjit and daughter Harnoor Kaur (11) saluted their father's body.

A weeping Vikramjit lit his father's pyre and pledged to join the Army.

Jaswinder was the third member of his family to join the Army after his father and his brother.

Punjab 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 MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira and district administration officials attended Jaswinder's last rites.

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 body of Gajjan.

The youngest of four brothers, Gajjan, 27, 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 KP Singh, MLA Amarjit Singh Sandoa and Punjab Youth Congress president Barinder Singh Dhillon also attended the last rites of the soldier.

In Gurdaspur's Chhatha Shira village, the family of Naik Mandeep Singh, 30, struggled to come to terms with its loss.

His family members wept as he arrived 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 and Batala MLA Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, among others, were present at Mandeep's cremation.

The state government on Monday announced a relief of ₹ 50 lakh and a government job each for the families of the three soldiers.

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