Families of Punjab soldiers’ killed in Poonch terror attack inconsolable, seek justice - Hindustan Times
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Families of Punjab soldiers’ killed in Poonch terror attack inconsolable, seek justice

Apr 22, 2023 02:25 AM IST

Grief and anger echoed through the villages of four soldiers from Punjab who were among the five killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, with their family members demanding that the Army give a befitting reply to the “cowardly act”

Sewak was sole breadwinner of family

(Combo picture) Hawaldar Mandeep Singh, Lance Naik Debashish Baswal, Lance Naik Kulwant Singh, Sepoy Harkrishan Singh and Sepoy Sewak Singh, who lost their lives in the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch Sector, on Thursday. (ANI)
(Combo picture) Hawaldar Mandeep Singh, Lance Naik Debashish Baswal, Lance Naik Kulwant Singh, Sepoy Harkrishan Singh and Sepoy Sewak Singh, who lost their lives in the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch Sector, on Thursday. (ANI)

Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda) Grief echoed through the village as a phone call to sepoy Sewak Singh’s (23) family at Bagha village in Bathinda’s Talwandi Sabo sub-division, informed them that their valiant son had died in a terror attack in Poonch on Thursday. A pall of gloom descended on the entire area in remembrance of the local lad, who was loved by all and stood out for zeal to live life to its fullest. Sewak Singh joined the Army in 2018 and is survived by his parents and two sisters. He was the main breadwinner for the family. His father works as a daily wager. Sewak’s mother Karamjit Kaur is in disbelief that his son, who went back on duty 20 days ago after spending a month at home on leave, is no more. Karamjit was inconsolable as she remembered her last conversation with Sewak, in which she wanted her son to get married.

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Jasvir Kaur, Sewak’s elder sister, said, “He was here just a few weeks ago and yesterday, we were told he has been killed. He was always worried about the family’s well-being. When our parents talked about his marriage, he always said that he wanted to see his sisters are married first.”

A villager, who was among the mourners, demanded that the Army should give a befitting reply to the “cowardly act” of terrorists.

Father, an ex-serviceman, puts on a brave face

AMRITSAR In Talwandi Bharth village falling in Fatehgarh Churian assembly segment of Gurdaspur district as the news of sepoy Harkrishan Singh’s death spread, his father Mangal Singh, an ex-serviceman, put on a brave face. The 27-year-old was recruited into the Indian Army in 2017 and was currently serving in Rashtriya Rifles.

Mangal, who has also served as a soldier in the Army, said, “My son attained martyrdom while serving the country and fighting against the militants. We are very proud of him. He attained martyrdom while fulfilling his duty. Like him, other youths should also render service to the country and the community. During a video call recently, he enquired about our well-being. I still remember his last words.”

Harkrishan is survived by his wife, daughter (1.5 years old) and five-month-old son.

“I spoke to my husband via a video call on Thursday. He talked to our daughter Khushpreet Kaur during the call. He promised to come home on leave soon”, Daljit Kaur, Harkrishan’s wife, said.

His uncle said urged the government to compensate the grieving family. Mortal remains of the slain soldier are expected to arrive on Saturday, and his last rites will be performed with full state honours.

8-yr-old son wants to join army

Chankoian Kalan (Payal) A deathly silence, broken occasionally by the wailing wife and mother of 39-year-old Hawaldar Mandeep Singh, prevails at the residence of the soldier, who was killed in a terror attack in Jammu yesterday. Mandeep’s eight-year-old son is watching the news of his father being one of the five soldiers burnt in the attack on YouTube on his tablet in a loop since yesterday.

“He (Mandeep’s 8-year-old son Karandeep) is mum and is not saying anything but watching the news of the attack. We do not know if he understands the meaning of life and death. But he says he will join the Army, like his father,” says subedar (retd) Jasvir Singh, who is Mandeep’s uncle.

Chankoian Kalan in Payal Tehsil is a small village with 100 odd houses, and Mandeep’s passion for the armed forces was well-known among the locals.

“His brothers are all into business, but he was extremely passionate about the armed forces since childhood. My nephew (Mandeep) always wanted to join the army,” says Jasvir Singh, who retired from the army 10 years ago. Mandeep was the only one amongst his four siblings who studied till class 12 to become eligible to apply for recruitment in the Indian Army.

“Mandeep was different,” Jasvir said, adding that it was he who trained his nephew and guided him to join the service 18 years ago.

Mandeep’s father expired a decade ago and he is survived by his mother, wife and two children- an 11-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.

His wife, Jagdeep Kaur, shocked beyond words, said she spoke to him only yesterday. “I didn’t know that it was going to be the last call with him. Why has life played a cruel joke,” she uttered.

Mandeep last came home in February when he spent a month with the family and left in the first week of March.

Kulwant’s father also died in line of duty

Moga Lance Naik Kulwant Singh, 32, a resident of Charik village in Moga district, is the second person in his family to die in the line of duty.

Kulwant’s father, Baldev Singh, was also killed in a terror attack in the Kargil region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Kulwant was very young, recalled a villager. He joined the Army in 2009 at the age of 18.

He is survived by a three-month-old son, a one-and-half-year-old daughter and a wife. He had recently visited his house to celebrate the birth of his son.

Jinder Kaur, the mother of Kulwant, said, “I last talked to him yesterday morning. He was climbing a mountain at that time. He told me that he was fine and asked me not to worry. He asked me to take care of his son.”

Kulwant’s wife Hardeep Kaur said, “He was here last month, and we all celebrated the birth of our son. He always used to ask about our children’s health on the phone calls. He wanted to make sure that our children get a good education.”

Holding Kulwant’s four-month-old son in his arms, his brother urged the government and the army to give a befitting reply for the attack.

Odisha’s Biswal dies days before 2nd wedding anniversary

Bhubaneswar Lance Naik Debasish Biswal, 28, who was the fifth victim of the terror attack, would have completed his second marriage anniversary on Saturday.

Biswal hails from Alagum village of Puri district and would have completed his second marriage anniversary on April 22.

He is survived by his wife Sushree Sangeeta and seven-month-old daughter.

Dilip Biswal, the martyr’s cousin, said the reality of the death of his brother is yet to sink in. “He was very hardworking and joined the Army with the aim to serve the nation. The whole village is in shock. Although we are proud of him, we are shattered. He was one of the brightest children of this village,” said the soldier’s brother.

Biswal’s aunt Shantilal said whenever he came to the village he would take part in all social activities and was an inspiration for the local youth. “He always took part in flood and drought relief activities. We have lost a brave and dutiful son who cared for his family,” she said. His grandfather Panchanan said the family never thought they would have to see this day.

Condoling his death, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said Biswal’s sacrifices for the safety of the country will always be remembered. “May his soul rest in peace and my condolences to the family members at such a sad time,” he said. (Filed by Aneesha Sareen Kumar, Ludhiana, Surjit Singh, Amritsar, Parteek Singh Mahal, Moga and Debabrata Mohanty, Bhubaneswar)

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