“IT”S UNBELIEVABLE. Just a couple of days ago, he had called home and even sent some of his photos in Army uniform through his friend’s WhatsApp account,” said Jasbir Kaur, (31), wife of Naik Bakhtawar Singh of 8 Sikh LI who was killed in Pakistani shelling in Nowshehra of Jammu and Kashmir Friday. She pointed to her children, who are waiting for their father to come home as he had promised them to visit them by the month-end.
Bakhtawar (35) was killed when Pakistan opened unprovoked firing on Indian Army Post at Nowshehra around 5:15 am Friday. “When there is no war on the border, why our children are getting killed there? Our government must take some steps to avoid casualties,” said Pritam Singh, 70, father of the deceased. Pritam Singh said he had also served in the Indian Army and fought in the 1971 war. “Since he (Bakhtawar) was posted in Kashmir over a year ago, he used to tell me that the situation was quite bad there,” said Jasbir Kaur.
Bakhtawar leaves behind his wife, three children: a nine-year-old daughter, and two sons aged 11 years and nine months and elderly parents. The family lives in Sandhu Mohalla of Hajipur town in Hoshiarpur district. His brother-in-law, Gurnam Singh, received a call around 6:30 am Friday informing him of Bakhtawar’s death. “I somehow I gathered some courage to inform the elders at home,” he said. Bakhtawar had last met his family in March when he had come home on leave.
“He was a fun-loving and brave man,” added Gurnam. adding that Bakhtawar had earlier served two stints in J&K. He had joined Indian Army 15 years ago after completing his 10+2. He was youngest among four siblings. A pall of gloom descended on Sandhu Mohalla and people from surrounding villages also visited the family to express condolences. The body of the soldier is expected to reach his native place Saturday.