Updated: April 11, 2020 11:26:09 am
Outrage ensued on social media after Amritsar-based parents of a decorated Army officer, who passed away after succumbing to cancer, were forced to undertake the long journey from New Delhi to Bengaluru by road as there are no commercial flights available and the Army was unable to arrange to accommodate them on an IAF aircraft to take them to Bengaluru for their sons’ funeral.
Lt Col KS Bal (retd) and his wife Raminder Kaur Bal reached Baroda late Friday evening by road on their way to attend the cremation of their son, Col Navjot Singh Bal who died in Bengaluru Thursday of a rare cancer.
Lt Col Bal is a former officer of the Garhwal Rifles. His son is survived by his wife Arti and two sons aged 8 and 4 years respectively.
As reported by The Indian Express Thursday, Col Bal was commanding 2 Para (Special Forces) when he was diagnosed with cancer. In a unique display of grit and determination, the officer continued to command his battalion till the time that the debilitating disease allowed him to do so.
Tributes to Bal have been pouring in from his coursemates to his fellow soldiers all attesting to the ‘fight’ that he put up. Colonel Bal had been awarded the Shaurya Chakra in 2008 as a Captain for anti-terrorist operations in Lolab in Jammu and Kashmir. He was only 39 when he passed away.
Sources say that efforts to ensure an air passage for his parents did not bear fruit due to bureaucratic hurdles within the military and the civilian establishment due to the lockdown on account of COVID-19. This left his parents with no other option but to drive down to Bengaluru from New Delhi.
This has triggered an outrage on social media with army veterans questioning why the parents of a decorated officer could not be airlifted to attend the funeral of their son instead if making them undertake an arduous road journey.
Many veterans including senior officers like Lt Gen HS Panag (retd), former GOC-in-C, Northern and Central Commands, have termed the failure to arrange an air journey for the parents of the officer as a “shame”.
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