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Indian peacekeeper Subedar Kanwarpal Singh cremated with state honours

Anguished family slams government,Army apathy.

Written by ANCHAL DHAR | Bhondsi |
December 24, 2013 12:38:12 am

The mood was grim in Bhondsi on Monday as Subedar Kanwarpal Singh Raghav,one of the two Indian peacekeepers who died in an attack on a UN compound in South Sudan,was consigned to flames with state honours. Raghav,46,became the 28th martyr from Bhondsi since 1919. He had been serving in South Sudan for the past eight months and was scheduled to return on January 10. A celebrated soldier from the 8 Rajputana Rifles Armed Corps,he was to retire from the Army in 2014.

On December 19 Kanwarpal Singh’s wife Asnee Lata Devi received a call informing her about her husband’s demise. For three days,there was no information from anyone as the shattered family began to come to terms with their loss.

Behind the sorrow,trickled a deep sense of anguish and hostility in the family,who felt betrayed by the state. “Ministers made a beeline for the other martyr’s house in Chakri Dadri because he is a Jat but who would worry about a Rajput. We don’t figure in Haryana Chief Minister’s list of important men,” said an angry cousin,Narendar Raghav.

Kanwarpal Singh’s eldest daughter Anjali,a final year BSc student,fought back tears: “I am proud of my father. He served this country for 27 years and lost his life while doing his duty. But for what?”

“For two days,our family wailed and cried and mourned,but no one from the state government or the Army came to share our grief. There was no information about my father. The Deputy Commissioner told me that he was away in Chandigarh and did not have any idea about my father’s demise,” she said,adding that it took her young brothers to block the road to make their voices heard.

However,Deputy Commissioner (Gurgaon) Shekhar Vidyarthi dismissed the claims. “When we received an official protocol from the Army,we sprung in action. I was away in Chandigarh,so I sent ADC P S Chauhan and the SDM (South) Vivek Kalia to meet the family. On Sunday I personally met them,” he said.

The panchayat announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh towards the family and Rs 5 lakh for the construction of a memorial. The funeral was attended by Sohna MLA Chaudhary Dharambir,Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit,administration officials and Army members.

“He was so dedicated that he would always defer his holidays for one or two months. After his retirement,the Army was supposed to confer him with honorary captainship,” his younger brother Ramesh Singh told The Indian Express.

His 13-year old son has also decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

India shuts down South Sudan oilfields

NEW DELHI: India Monday evacuated all its oil employees from strife-torn South Sudan and shut down oilfields amid escalating violence in the world’s youngest nation. All 11 executives working on 40,000 barrels per day Greater Nile Oil Project and Block 5A were airlifted,a top source with knowledge of the development said. “The evacuation happened in two batches. All the officials have arrived in India safely,” he said. Before departure,the last job the Indian executives did was to shut down the oilfields Sunday. PTI

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