Beneath the tough soldier lay a family man yearning for peace. Haryana’s Kuldeep (27), one of the eight soldiers killed in the anti- militant operation at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, had been looking forward to next posting at a peaceful station in a few months.Stunned mourners gathered outside the house of lance naik Kuldeep at Kheri Bullah village in Jind district on Saturday.
His father, Mullad Kumar of Jind’s Kheri Bullah village, remembers that his youngest son was picked for the army in 2008 from an open recruitment rally in his district. “Kuldeep left for Baramulla in Kashmir on November 11, after a month’s break with us. He was excited at the prospect of getting a peaceful station near New Delhi after three years in the proxy-war zone,” said Mullad, a farmer.
The martyr’s elder sibling, Vazir Singh Chahal, a head constable in Haryana Police, remembers his brother was popular in the village for his athletic ability and skills in kabaddi and hockey. “It got him a place in the army,” Chahal, posted at Bhondsi in Karnal district.
On how the news reached the family, Mullad said: “My elder son, Churiya Singh, received it on his mobile phone at 7pm on Friday and shared it with relatives. I our two telephone conversations on Thursday, Kuldeep was calm. He wanted us to protect his minor son from cold.”
“Before Baramulla, lance naik Kuldeep was posted at Jhansi,” the husband of village sarpanch Saroj Devi’s told HT over telephone. Kuldeep leaves behind his wife and a son who is of 18 months. The Jind administration expects his body to be brought to Delhi by Saturday evening and the cremation arranged on Sunday. A team from Hisar Cantonment has reached Kuldeep’s village to prepare to give him military honours at his funeral.