The body of Sepoy Pardeep Singh, who died in the September 13 anti-terror operation in Anantnag district of south Kashmir, was cremated with full military honours at his native Balamgarh village in Samana tehsil of Patiala on Tuesday. He leaves behind a pregnant wife.
The soldier’s body was recovered on Monday evening, five days after he had gone missing during a search for militants in the dense Gadole forest area of Kokernag in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.
Thousands of people paid their last respects to the fallen soldier when his mortal remains wrapped in tricolor arrived at his native village on Tuesday.
His wife Seema Rani, who is four months pregnant, went into shock as the body arrived, and had to be hospitalised after the cremation. Sepoy Pardeep Singh was cremated with full military honours after his wife and other family members gave him final salute.
It has not even been a year since 27-year-old Pardeep Singh had married Seema Rani in November last year. The last time he had come home on leave was in May, when he stayed for a month.
Pardeep Singh had joined the Army in December 2015. He was with the Sikh Light Infantry and deputed with 19 Rashtriya Rifles Unit.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Pardeep Singh’s cousin Rinku Singh said that Seema Rani, who is four months pregnant, has gone into shock after learning about her husband’s demise.
“He comes from a very poor family. His father Darshan Singh was a labourer for his entire life. The family does not own any agricultural land. His elder brother Kuldeep Singh is also a labourer. The family has lost everything with Pardeep Singh’s passing,” said Rinku Singh.
Rinku Singh, a government schoolteacher, added that Pardeep Singh had been passionate about the Army from a young age. “I used to help him in studies and since the time he was in Class 8, he had wanted to join the Army so that he could help his family financially and also serve the country,” he said.
Pardeep Singh’s mother also passed away around two years ago due to health issues.
Kuldeep Singh said that though his brother was only Class-12 pass when he had joined the Army, he always wanted to learn more and had pursued graduation even after getting the Army job. Not only was he pursuing graduation, he had also made his wife continue her studies after marriage.
“Seema Rani is pursuing higher studies even after marriage as Pardeep Singh wanted so. He told her that he will bear all expenses but she should continue to study. Pardeep Singh’s mother used to remain unwell and died. Pardeep Singh was a self-made man who even worked as a labourer as we had no agricultural land. We urge the government to help the family and do something to secure the future of his unborn child,” said Mewa Singh, paternal uncle of the deceased soldier.
Rinku Singh said that Seema Rani was now pursuing PhD in history from Punjabi University, Patiala. “Pardeep Singh wanted her to study further and achieve something in life,” he said.
Punjab Cabinet Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra, who attended the cremation, said that Seema Rani would be given the job of an assistant professor at the local government college as per her qualification.
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd
First published on: 19-09-2023 at 16:35 IST