The family of Subedar Jagbir Singh, slain in the militant ambush in Manipur where 18 jawans were killed, waited all day on Friday for his body to arrive. However, due to cancellation of a flight, his body was flown to Delhi on Saturday evening from Manipur’s Chandel district and was slated to reach his village Muradgarhi in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budhha Nagar district on Sunday morning.
The only one to have joined the Army in the family, Jagbir was the third of five brothers. He entered service at the age of 22 in 1994. “He was the most educated in his family. Agriculture was not yielding good results. After completing his BA from Khurja, he would either have taken to stealing or join the Army,” said his brother-in-law S K Sharma.
The last time Jagbir spoke to his wife was a night before the deadly ambush. He told that he was in the hills and would get off the next morning after which he promised to inform her. The phone signals were weak because of the inclement weather.
“A Major called to give the news and spoke to my husband. We told Manju half truth saying Jagbir was badly injured. She has still not been told about his death but with people collecting in the village she has an idea,” Manju’s sister Yashodha said.
Jagbir wanted his children to study at the Kendriya Vidyalaya due to which his wife Manju and children Vivek (14) and Renu (12) lived in a rented accommodation in Ghaziabad’s Saibabad area where Manju’s sister Yashodha and her husband S L Sharma live.
“Jadbir would often complain about serving in Manipur. Duty kharaab hai, he used to say. Yahaan paharon mein khatra hai aur yahaan ke logon se bhi. Kabhi bhi kuchh bhi ho sakta hai (Duty here is tough, he used to say. It is dangerous in these hills and among these people. Anything can happen),” Yashodha said.
Jagbir’s son Vivek, who wants to become a software engineer with the Indian Army, said, “Father had come to Delhi for a month because my sister had to get her appendix removed. He left three weeks ago. He said he would come in July and be there for my birthday.”
District magistrate N P Singh confirmed that the state had announced a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to Jagbir’s family. Jagbir had been posted in Manipur since the last two years. He was slated to be promoted to the rank of a naib-subedar and be posted to Meerut later this year. This would be his last posting. His family said he had won an award from the UN for his service in Sudan five years ago and a medal from the Chief of Army Staff on August 15 the year before the last.