Poonch attack: Families of soldiers from Punjab inconsolable, ask for justice

In Moga district's Charik village, Kulwant's brother said on Friday that the government and the Army should give a befitting reply to the attack.

Chandigarh: Grief and anger echoed through the villages of four soldiers from Punjab who were among the five killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, with their family members demanding that the Army give a befitting reply to the “cowardly act”.

The soldiers’ families were inconsolable as they waited for them to come home one last time.

Havildar Mandeep Singh, Lance Naik Kulwant Singh, Sepoy Harkrishan Singh and Sepoy Sewak Singh, all from Punjab, were killed after their vehicle was attacked by unidentified terrorists and caught fire because of likely use of grenades.

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The fifth soldier killed in the attack hailed from Odisha.

The bodies of the four soldiers from Punjab are being sent to their native places by road, according to officials.

In Moga district’s Charik village, Kulwant’s brother said on Friday that the government and the Army should give a befitting reply to the attack.

Holding Kulwant’s four-month-old son in his arms, he said his brother loved his family and had asked him to ensure timely vaccination of his son.

Kulwant, who had recently visited his family, also leaves behind a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter and his wife.

Villagers said Kulwant’s father was also in the armed forces and was killed in the Kargil war when he was about two years old.

“His father was martyred in the Kargil war. The entire village is in a state of shock,” a villager said.

Former village head Bakshish Singh said the entire village is pained by the loss of their brave son but at the same time, is proud of the supreme sacrifice he has made for the country.

In Bagha village in Bathinda, Sepoy Sewak Singh’s elder sister’s tears won’t stop.

A villager, who was among the mourners, demanded that the Army give a befitting reply to the “cowardly act” of terrorists.

At Sepoy Harkrishan Singh’s house in Talwandi Barth village in Batala, villagers hailed his supreme sacrifice for the motherland.

Harkrishan had recently visited his family. Hours before he was killed, he spoke to his wife and two-year-old daughter on a video call, the villagers said.

Havildar Mandeep Singh belonged to Ludhiana district.

Speaking to reporters in Moga district, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann announced an ex gratia of Rs 1 crore each and a government job to the kin of the four soldiers.

“We received the very sad news of five soldiers being martyred in the incident (terrorist attack), out of which four were from Punjab,” he said.

These heroes displayed the utmost dedication in defending the country’s unity and their sacrifice will inspire their fellow soldiers to perform their duties with far more devotion and commitment, he added.

During the country’s freedom struggle, Mann said, Punjabis contributed 90 per cent.

“To keep this freedom intact, our brave jawans are guarding the borders,” he said.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit said he was deeply saddened to hear the news about the loss of lives of the soldiers. He said their sacrifice for their motherland will not go in vain and they will always be remembered and revered by the people of the country.

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