City mourns loss of its braveheart

Er Jaswant Singh Gill was cremated with full state honours

City mourns loss of its braveheart

Jaswant Gill cremated with full state honours at the Shaheedan Wala Crematorium in Amritsar on Wednesday. Photo: Sunil Kumar

Neha Saini

Tribune New Service

Amritsar, November 27

City’s very own braveheart, Er Jaswant Singh Gill, was cremated with full state honours at Shaheedan Wala Crematorium on Wednesday morning. Gill (80), who passed away on Tuesday evening after suffering a heart attack, is survived by wife Nirdosh Kaur, two sons and four daughters.

Condolences started pouring in as the news of his demise came out late Tuesday night. The cremation was attended by senior politicians and administrative officials, including Deputy Commissioner Shivdular Singh.

Leaving behind a legacy of courage, Gill was a hero for many as he saved lives of 65 coal miners trapped inside a coal mine in the infamous Raniganj coalmine accident in West Bengal in 1989. He had designed a capsule to rescue the miners, ensuring that each one comes out safe and alive. Gill was posted as Additional Chief Mining Engineer and was trained in rescue operations. For his brave feat, Gill received several awards and recognitions, the most prominent being Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak by President Ramaswamy Venkataraman in 1991. His feat had also been documented in the Limca Book of Records as a national feat in the history of coal mine rescue. Gill was recently honoured by the Punjab government at Sultanpur Lodhi during celebrations of the 550th Gurpurb.

“It was for the first time that my father was recognised by the Punjab government for his contribution. His selfless commitment towards humanity is the legacy he has left to us and we hope to continue with it,” said his son Dr SS Gill.

His fame and recognition did not just limit itself to Punjab. He was called in for aiding rescue operations of coal miners trapped inside the flooded mines at East Jaintia Hill in Meghalaya last year. The story of this real life hero also found interest in Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan is as reportedly set to make a biopic on his life and the rescue operation he carried out in the Mahabir coalfield in Raniganj.

Citizens in grief

“He was a champion of community service and was always proactive in offering his service and knowledge for the betterment of society.

I first got introduced to him at one of our cultural events and later got to know him better. He was a simple and humble being. His death is a great loss to our city and humanity,” said Jatinder Brar, patron of Punjab Natshala. Brar has also recognised Gill for his brave act.

The cremation was also attended by members of several NGOs. Social media, too, was flooded with messages of condolences, after the news of his demise broke.

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