Updated: June 20, 2020 11:38:34 am
THE MORTAL remains of Sepoy Gurtej Singh and Sepoy Gurbinder Singh — who died fighting the Chinese in Galwan Valley — were cremated in their native villages Beeriwala Dogra in Mansa and Tolawala in Sangrur on Friday afternoon.
In Mansa, Gurtej Singh’s polio-afflicted father Virsa Singh said, “We are not able to come to terms with this loss. He chose not to go abroad and serve the country instead. His sacrifice should not go waste. China has backstabbed us yet again and it needs to be taught a lesson.”
Gurtej’s two older brothers are doing private jobs while his father does farming on two acres of land in the village. Gurtej was a resident of Beerewala Dogra village of Mansa district — a village from where five more boys are posted on the China border.
Subedar (retd) Gurmez Singh, Gurtej’s uncle, said, “I worked in the Army for about 30 years. I was part of the Kargil war and I feel that a serious solution of border tension with our neighbours is a must, rather than letting our brave soldiers be killed every now and then. I remember when I was serving in the Army, the Parliament attack had happened and after that full arrangements had been made by the Army at Samba border. But then we were told to step back. This demoralises the soldiers. The government should get serious about border tension with our neighbours. A befitting reply to the enemy is a must.”
Gurtej’s father Virsa Singh said, “Last time I spoke to him was 10 days back. He came to meet us in November last year and on Wednesday I heard the news.”
Gurmez Singh said, “Five more families of our village are trying to contact their sons who are on the Indo-China border at different locations, but are not able to speak to them as of now.”
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal came to pay his respects. Representatives from other political parties also came to condole the family. Dr Narinder Bhargav, SSP Mansa, was also present. Union Minister Harsimrat Badal, who attended the cremation, said, “New India would not let China commit aggression against it and that the country was capable of standing up to any threat resolutely.”
China should be given a befitting reply: Faujis at Sangrur
Sepoy Gurbinder Singh (22), had come to his village Tolawala in Sangrur district nine months ago when his parents had chosen a girl for him, and their engagement ceremony was organised. This village has nearly 30 boys who are in the Army. “Cheen nu mooh tod jawab dena chahida hai…eh hi saadi mang hai… (China should be given a befitting reply, this is our only demand),” said Mewa Singh, sarpanch, while others nodded in agreement.
He added, “Our village is one of faujis. Till now boys from 30 families have gone in the Army and he was one among them. You can imagine what is the condition in our village. No one cooked food today and on the day we got to know that he has been killed.” Gurbinder turned 22 on June 2. He had joined the army in March, 2018.
Like Gurtej, even Gurbinder was the youngest of the three siblings. His elder brother Gurpreet, is 26. His Father Labh Singh is over 70 and mother Charanjeet Kaur is in her mid 60s. Both were not in a condition to talk to anyone.
Punjab Cabinet Minister Vijay Inder Singla came to pay respects on behalf of the Punjab government while SAD president Sukhbir Badal and BJP state president Avinash Rai Khanna also came to condole the family.
Amarinder should stop armchair commentary: Sukhbir
The SAD president urged Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh “not to play politics on such a sensitive issue”. He said, “The country’s generals were well aware of what needed to be done in the present situation and no one should advise them on the best course of action. Armchair commentary should be avoided and we should let the army take all decisions on safeguarding our sovereignty.”
He also said that a strong message must be sent to China that such transgressions would not be tolerated. He said China on its part should know that India had a strong Prime Minister who would not brook any aggression by China.
“Let us all stand with the Prime Minister and the Indian Army at this crucial juncture. We should support any decision taken by them because they know the real situation on the ground.”
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