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Chandigarh

Heroes of Anantnag cremated with military honours

IANS | September 15, 2023 06:10 PM

CHANDIGARH: Amid chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Matram', mortal remains of third-generation soldier Col Manpreet Singh and his colleague Major Aashish Dhonchak, who made the supreme sacrifice while protecting the nation from the terrorists in Anantnag, were cremated with full military honours at their hometowns in Punjab and Haryana, respectively.

As India saluted the bravehearts, visuals from Col Manpreet Singh's village Mullanpur Garibdass in Mohali in Punjab and Major Dhonachal in Haryana's Panipat touched everyone's heart.

With folded hands and tearful eyes, Col Manpreet Singh's wife, Jagmeet Kaur, bid him a final goodbye. His six-year-old son, Kabir Singh, dressed in army fatigue saluted his father, who was a chartered accountant by profession and rose by ranks with his hard work.

Col Manpreet Singh had a rare distinction to become an officer in father's battalion. His family, comprising mother, wife Jagmeet Grewal and two children -- a daughter and a son, resides near New Chandigarh in Mohali district.

His mother Manjit Kaur said since her son joined the Army she had been regularly watching news channels to know about the welfare of the army men posted in Jammu and Kashmir. "There was always a fear in my mind about some mishappening with my son and it happened, " the mother said.

"Mera Colonel shaheed ho gaya, mere dil da tukda shaheed ho gya."

"I talked to him on Sunday at 3 p.m. We wouldn't talk for a week sometimes. He was going to be transferred as he had been in Kashmir for four years, " the mother said.

"Whenever I asked him to come home, he would say "I have a lot of work to do. How can I leave all the work and come, mom?"

Col Manpreet Singh's father Lakhmir Singh passed away in 2014. He was Naik in 12 Sikh Light Infantry. He did before his son became an officer in the same battalion.

Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit laid a wreath on the mortal remains of Col Manpreet Singh and paid tributes to him.

A day earlier, Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, and Lt Gen Rajiv Ghai, Chinar Corps Commander, along with the Chief Secretary and the DGP and other dignitaries laid wreaths to pay homage to the bravehearts in a solemn ceremony in Srinagar.

The mortal remains of Col Manpreet Singh and Major Aashish Dhonchak were transported by a special aircraft for last rites to their native hometowns, where they would be laid to rest with full military honours.

Former army chief General Ved Prakash Malik (retd), who attended the cremation of Col Manpreet Singh, said it was a very sad occasion and both the officers were from his regiment.

"It is a big loss to the regiment and the army. Naturally, I am also feeling sad being from the same family. We hope that people who have carried out the Anantnag encounter will be sorted out soon."

The mortal remains of Major Dhonchak were consigned to the flames at his native village in Panipat amidst thousands of mourners joined the grieving family.

Planning to visit the family on his birthday on October 23, Major Dhonchak joined the Army in 2013 and was the lone brother of three sisters and the youngest among the siblings.

He's survived by his wife Jyoti and three-year-old daughter Vamika.

Lal Chand, his father, along with the family, had shifted to a rented accommodation after he retired from National Fertilizers Ltd. The family was planning to move a new constructed house on the arrival of Major Dhonchak.

Born on October 23, 1987, Major Dhonchak had joined the Army in 2013. He was pursuing MTech at the time. His first posting was at Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir. He was promoted as Major in 2018 and was posted to Jammu and Kashmir again.

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