The body of Major Amit Deswal of the 21 Para, who died in an encounter with Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) militants in Manipur’s Tamenglong on Wednesday, was cremated at his native village of Surehti in Jhajjar district on Friday with state honours and 21 gunshots.
Major Deswal, 31, was born on Army Day (January 15) and had followed in the footsteps of his father, Subedar Major Rishi Ram Deswal (retired), to join the Indian Army. He sustained six bullet injuries during combing operations, the postmortem report revealed. Due to dense forest area, the army faced a challenge in recovering his body, and later due to bad weather, the body had to kept in Assam on Thursday night.
Major Deswal’s body reached Delhi on Friday morning where army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag paid tributes to him. Earlier on Thursday, Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh reached the army unit in Jorhat to pay tributes to the soldier. From Delhi, Major Deswal’s body was brought to his Sector 6 residence in Jhajjar where people paid their last respects to the braveheart. Major Deswal’s body was then taken to his native village, where he was cremated with full military honours.
Thousands of people, including former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, newly-appointed director general of police KP Singh, state legislator from Jhajjar Geeta Bhukkal, Rohtak inspector general of police Sanjay Kumar and Jhajjar superintendent of police Jashandeep Singh, thronged the village to pay tributes to Major Deswal. From the army, Lt Colonel Taruvesh Bhanot, Lt Col Deewan Singh and Lt General Raj Kadiyan (retired) paid their last respects to Major Deswal.
Haryana agriculture minister OP Dhankar attended the funeral on behalf of the state government. He presented a “pushpa chakra” to the martyr and announced Rs 50 lakh besides a government job for his kin.
“We are proud of soldiers like Major Amit Deswal, who, without caring for their own safety, protect citizens of this nation by standing alert on the borders,” said Dhankar.
Major Deswal is survived by his wife Neeta and three-year-old son Arjun. Neeta was a teacher at Sehwag International School in Jhajjar and had recently quit her job. She, along with her son, had accompanied Major Deswal’s father to visit him in Manipur where he was posted for Operation Hifazat-2. Amit has two siblings: an elder sister and a younger brother. He had last visited his home on February 16 for one week for his younger brother Sumit Deswal’s wedding.
Major Deswal was commissioned on June 10, 2006, in the regiment of artillery, from where his father retired in 2009. After several successful operations, he was selected for the special forces and later entered the elite unit of the army in 2011. He was given an important role in Manipur for Operation Hifazat-2 in January 2016. Major Deswal’s brother Sumit told HT that he had received a Commander Dagger during the Ghatak course. After Capt Pawan Kumar, who was killed in Pampore, Major Amit Deswal is the second army officer from the state born on Army Day and killed fighting militants in the past two months.