Naib Subedar Paramjeet Singh, who was killed in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, was cremated with full military honours at his native Vainpoin village in Punjab on Tuesday.
The 42-year-old, who belonged to the army’s 22 Sikh Infantry, was one of the two soldiers beheaded by Pakistani troops on Monday. Head constable Prem Sagar of the BSF’s 200th battalion was the other soldier.
Mourners from his village and surrounding areas, besides his family and friends, paid their last respects to Singh.
Senior army officers and civil administration officials were also present as buglers sounded the ‘Last Post’ and the slain soldier was accorded a gun salute.
His body was wrapped in the tricolour and brought for cremation in a bedecked vehicle.
The last rites were held up for a few moments as his relatives remained adamant that they be shown the body. They went ahead with the ceremony after persuasion by civil and army officials.
A Pakistani special forces team had on Monday sneaked 250 metres across the Line of Control (LoC) into the Poonch sector and beheaded the two Indian security personnel.
Singh is survived by his parents Udham Singh and Gurinder Kaur, wife Paramjit Kaur and three children -- daughters Simardeep Kaur and Khushdeep Kaur, and son Sahildeep Singh, all aged between 11 and 14.
Shocked by the demise of the soldier, who was supposed to visit his village a week later on a holiday, his family and friends have demanded a befitting reply be given to Pakistan
Paramjit Kaur lamented that no senior functionary of the government had come to meet the family or attended the funeral. She also demanded that the Centre should give free hand to army so that Pakistan is taught a stern lesson.
“Our government had once said that if Pakistan kills or beheads our one soldier, as many as ten enemy soldiers will meet the same fate, but what is happening now. If the government cannot teach Pakistan a lesson, then they should allow me to take revenge of my husband’s killing,” Kaur said.
The anger was palpable among the villagers in Tarn Taran, a border district close to the Indo-Pak international border, against Pakistan.
While “Shaheed Paramjeet Amar Rahe” slogans rent the air, “Pakistan Murdabad” slogans were also raised.
Pakistani flags were also burnt at some places in Punjab on Tuesday, including in Ludhiana, where protesters demanded that Pakistan should be paid back in the same coin.
The martyr’s father, Udham Singh, said he was proud of his son but he wanted that Pakistan be taught a lesson.
“Their action has caused much pain. They should be taught a lesson,” he said.
Paramjeet was the only earning hand in the family. The family lives in a semi-kutcha house.
Struggling to hold back her tears, his daughter Simardeep said she was proud of her father who had laid down his life for the nation.
Udham said Paramjeet had wanted to give the best possible education to his children and had talked about renovating his house so his kids could get more space to study and play.
His elder brother Ranjit Singh said the entire village and the country is proud of the sacrifice. He, however, demanded that the government should give the army a free hand to hit back at the enemy.
Ranjit was also critical of the government, saying barring the area MLA “who turned up at the last moment for the cremation, the rest had stayed away”.
“My brother has sacrificed his life for the nation and not for his family. Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh should have been here today, he (CM) has served in the army and should know the pain we are going through. Not just him, but nobody from the government found time to be with us in this hour of grief,” he told reporters.
A childhood friend of Paramjeet also asked, “Why can’t our government give a befitting reply to Pakistan. Give our army a free hand. The Sikh Regiment alone is enough to take on Pakistan.”