Emotions ran high as the people gathered in huge numbers to pay their last respects to the Sepoy Jaspreet Singh during his funeral at Talwandi Mallian village in Moga district’s Dharamkot on Wednesday. Jaspreet (24) was killed during unprovoked firing by Pakistan at LOC in Nowshera in J&K’s Rajouri sector on Tuesday.
He was cremated with full military honours at the village cremation ground after his body was airlifted from Srinagar to Halwara air force station in Ludhiana from where it was brought here by the Army by road.
A gun salute was given at the funeral by an Army contingent and the pyre was lit by Jaspreet’s father and brother.
The inconsolable family of the slain solider, including his parents and four siblings, said that the government should find a solution to the standoff with Pakistan once and for all.
Kuldeep Singh, Jaspreet’s younger brother, said, “The government should just answer that for how long this is going to continue? Without any provocation, Pakistan army opens fire and kills our soldiers. For god’s sake, end this once and for all. If this is what they want, then let us go for a full-fledged war. We will see the consequences. Either go for a war or find some solution to this problem through talks, but this cannot continue.” Kuldeep said that he now wanted to join the Army to avenge the killing of his brother.
Jaspreet, who belonged to a poor SC family, had decided to join the Army early on. “There were two reasons behind this decision.
One was his passion and commitment to serve the country and die for it. The second reason was the poor condition of the family which needed an immediate financial security. He kept trying for Army and even failed to clear the test initially for at least six times but finally he made it.
His happiness knew no bounds the day he was selected,” said Jaswant Singh, his uncle.
Rajinder Kaur, his mother, said, “I am proud of my son as he has died for the country, but as a mother I have lost a part of my heart. My heart is grieving as a mother….As a mother, I have died today along with my son…I told him to take leave and come home but he said that situation at the border is tense. He had pending leaves but still did not come.”
Jaspreet’s sister, who had got married recently, said that he had come home last for her wedding. “I want to avenge my brother’s killing. But can anyone bring my brother back?” said a sobbing Parminder.
The family had recently got a pucca house constructed with help from Jaspreet.
His grieving father, Sarwan Singh, said: “We were telling him to get married but he said he will get his siblings settled first and then think about his marriage. It is because of him that today we have a shelter on our heads.”
Earning around Rs 35,000 per month, Jaspreet, the family revealed, used to send the entire salary home for his younger siblings.
Veerpal Kaur, the youngest of the five siblings, and a Class 7 student said that her brother used to inspire her to study harder and join the Army. “He used to get dry fruits like cashews, almonds and apricots for me whenever he came home. He told me to study harder and join Army,” she said.
A few days back, Jaspreet had told his friends, Harpreet and Kuljeet, about his desire to by a bullet motorbike. “He said that he is coming on leave soon and will be buying a bullet motorbike. He was collecting money for it,” said Harpreet.
Japreet, who had joined the Army after Class 12, was posted in J&K for last three years, and was awaiting a transfer to Punjab.