Yesterday, October 11, five Indian soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Poonch, Jammu & Kashmir. Twenty-six-year-old Sepoy Saraj Singh, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was one of them. Son of a farmer, his two elder brothers are also in the armed forces. Saraj’s mortal remains are expected to reach his village tomorrow.
Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Farmer Vichitra Singh has three sons, all of them in the Indian Army. Yesterday, the 56-year-old farmer received tidings that no parent ever wants to get – about the death of his youngest son, 26-year-old Saraj Singh.
Sepoy Saraj Singh, from Akhtiyarpur Dhavakal village in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, died in a gun battle with militants on October 11, in Dera ki Gali, Surankote, Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir.
Four more soldiers who died in the line of duty include Naib Subedar Jaswinder Singh of Mana Talwandi in Kapurthala, Naik Mandeep Singh of Chalha in Gurdaspur, Sepoy Gajjan Singh of Pancharanda village in Ropar (all three from Punjab), besides Sepoy Vaisakh H from Kerala’s Kollam district.
“Sher tha mera poot [my son was a lion],” Paramjit Kaur, Saraj Singh’s mother, dressed in white, told Gaon Connection. She had spoken to her sepoy son three days ago. “The enemy accomplished what it set out to do. My son died… My older son is coming home tomorrow, accompanying the body of Saraj,” she said.
“I am a farmer but all my three sons wanted to join the army and serve the country,” Vichitra Singh told Gaon Connection.
Saraj joined the Indian Army in 2015. His two elder brothers had already joined the armed forces in 2009 and 2013 respectively. Married a year ago, the young sepoy last visited home in July this year.
Ranjeet Kaur, his 23-year-old bride, sat expressionless, as an elderly relative adjusted the dupatta over her head, and several women cried quietly around her. Ranjeet still wore the chuda or the sets of red bangles newlyweds wear.
“We tried to dissuade him from joining the army too as two of us were already in. But he insisted that is what he wanted to do,” his brother Sukhveer Singh told Gaon Connection. “I am posted in an area where there is no network and had not spoken to Saraj for months. I met him last in 2019,” he added.
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Saraj was planning to visit home on December 1 for his brother-in-law’s (wife’s brother) wedding for which he had been saving his leave, 27-year-old Bhutpal Singh, a friend of Saraj told Gaon Connection.
But Saraj Singh will now return home in a coffin that will bear his service number 19007559L, his rank, that of a sepoy, and the name of his battalion, 16 RR BN (Sikh).