Six-year-old Luvjyot is unable to understand why his mother Parveen Kour is wailing. His father, Lance Naik Gurmail Singh, had promised to return home on December 26 to attend a marriage in the family.
Parveen is inconsolable; she had spoken to her husband on the phone barely a few hours before the deadly encounter with terrorists.
“Please end the call and let me go to sleep, I have to wake up early in the morning,” he had told her when she called him from Jammu on Thursday night.
Saying that they were busy making preparations for a marriage function, Gurmail’s father Natha Singh, an ex-serviceman, recalled that his son had called his aunt on Thursday to assure her that he will attend the wedding.
The next morning, as news came about the attack on the Army camp in Uri, Parveen started calling her husband on the phone, but there was no response. Natha, too, came to know about the attack and tried to contact his son. By afternoon, they got information from the Army that Gurmail had lost his life.
Gurmail is survived by his wife and two sons, the elder of the two aged 10. The last time he had come home was on Diwali, when he promised them he would return by year end.
The deceased had been in the Valley for the past one-and-a-half years and was scheduled to get a peace posting after six months, recalled Natha.
On Saturday, as Gurmail’s body wrapped in Tricolour was brought home, everybody in the village was in tears.
For most of his 14 years in service, Gurmail had served in terror-hit areas. A volleyball player, he had also served in the UN Peace Keeping Force, recalled Natha, adding that his son had voluntarily opted for the Rashtriya Rifles twice so he could join the fight against terrorists. He was interested in joining the Army since childhood, Natha said, adding that he feels proud that his son has sacrificed his life for the nation.