Chandigarh/Panipat, September 15
Colonel Manpreet Singh, killed in the gunfight with terrorists in Kashmir valley, was cremated at his village in Punjab's Mohali district on Friday.
Since early morning, Colonel Singh's house in Bharaunjian village witnessed a steady stream of mourners who joined his inconsolable wife, mother and other family members in his final journey. An Army officer was seen holding Kabir as the family and others paid their last respects while a relative held on to his two-year-old daughter Banni.
The cremation took place with full military honours, including a wreath laying ceremony and a gun salute.
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit, former Army chief VP Malik and Punjab ministers Chetan Singh Jouramajra and Anmol Gagan Maan as well as senior Army and police officers were present at Bharaunjian and laid wreaths. Lt Gen DP Vats (retd), a BJP leader, was also present.
Purohit and Anmol Maan were seen consoling the family members of Colonel Singh.
Some of the school teachers of Colonel Singh also turned up at the funeral.
"He was a gem for us. He was a gem for the nation," said a teary-eyed teachers, adding, "He had said he would come in December".
The Army officer, a Sena medal awardee, leaves behind two children, wife Jagmeet Kaur, a government school teacher in Haryana's Panchkula district, mother Manjeet Kaur and brother Sandeep.
Colonel Singh did his schooling from Mullanpur before graduating in commerce stream from a college in Chandigarh. He later cleared the Combined Defence Services examination and joined the Indian Military Academy.
Meanwhile, the mortal remains of Major Ashish Dhonchak, who died fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, were consigned to the flames on Friday with full military honours at his native village in Panipat as thousands of mourners joined the grieving family and officers for his final journey.
The body reached his home in Panipat town on Friday morning and was taken to his native Binjhol village in an Army vehicle where the last rites were conducted after a wreath-laying ceremony and a gun salute.
It took nearly three hours for the funeral procession to cover a distance of about 8km from the martyr's home in the town to reach his Binjhol village as mourners gathered to bid him a tearful adieu.
Senior Army officials, villagers and scores of others joined the martyr's family at the funeral.
Major Dhonchak's family had been living in a rented accommodation at Panipat and had planned to shift to a new house in October. The neighbours now say they never knew he would return in a coffin wrapped in the Tricolour.
Scores of people turned up on Friday morning at the residence of Dhonchak in Panipat when his mortal remains reached there. His family members were inconsolable.
Schoolchildren carrying the Tricolour were seen on a large stretch of the road as the funeral procession moved from his Panipat home to the village.
Patriotic slogans ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Jab tak suraj chand rahega, Ashish tera naam rahega’rent the air. A large number of women had also turned up along the route and paid their tributes to the soldier.
"We are devastated at the loss but at the same time proud that Major Ashish made the supreme sacrifice for the nation," said an elderly villager.
Dhonchak's family includes his wife, a two-year-old daughter and three sisters.
Three Army personnel, including the colonel and the major, and a deputy superintendent of the Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed in the gunfight with terrorists in the higher reaches of the Kokorenag area in the valley on Wednesday.
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