Havildar Sukhraj Singh, 32, was to reach home on vacation on Tuesday. Instead the family received a call around 1pm that fateful day. “We regret to inform you that Sukhraj has been killed in a militant attack,” was what an army officer informed his elder brother Dhanraj Singh, 35.
Now, the coffin carrying the martyr’s body will reach his home at Mann Nagar in Batala on Thursday.
For the past six months, Sukhraj, who joined the 188 Sikh regiment in 2004, was posted at the Nagrota military camp, which was stormed by terrorists on Tuesday, leaving seven soldiers, including two Majors, dead. Sukhraj was one of them.
“Sukhraj had informed us that his leave had been sanctioned and he would be reaching home by Tuesday evening.”
“Sukhraj had informed us that his leave had been sanctioned and he would be reaching home by Tuesday evening,” said Dhanraj, who works with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
Most eagerly waiting for Sukhraj was his seven-year-old daughter Subhpreet Kaur, to whom he had promised a family vacation. “But the destiny had others plans for us. On the day he had to arrive, we got the fateful news that he died fighting the enemies,” said Dhanraj.
Sukhraj’s wife Harmeet Kaur, 30, and mother Swaranjeet Kaur, 55, who works in the sub-divisional magistrate’s office, are now awaiting his body. His four-year-old son Sargundev is too young to realise his loss.
The martyr’s body will be flown to the Tibri cantonment on a helicopter on Thursday morning, from where it will reach Batala for cremation by road.
Gurdaspur deputy commissioner (DC) Pardeep Sabharwal, who visited the family on Wednesday, announced Rs 5-lakh relief for them. The family will also get a plot besides a job for Harmeet Kaur.
Other visitors included Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from neighbouring Fatehgarh Churian assembly segment Gurvinder Singh Shampura and Akali candidate from Batala LS Lodhinangal.