Uttarakhand soldier to go home after 17 years of treatment in Mohali
The 53-year-old Balbir Singh, a naik in the Indian Army’s 36 RR, suffered a spinal injury in J&K’s Anantnag on November 28, 2000, when his vehicle was blown up by militants in an IED blast. The soldier is being discharged from the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Phase 6, in Mohali in the last week of this month. He had been under treatment there for the past 17 years.
Balbir said he was happy that he would be back with his family. “Now, I will spend the rest of my life with my family,” he said.
Hailing from mountainous Thalisain village in Uttarakhand, Balbir said that he had spent a good time at the centre. “The day I was admitted here, I was not even able to sit. I needed the support of two people to help me for everything to do, but now things have changed and I have fully recovered,” he said.
Recalling the day when he and his battalion people were coming back from J&K’s Qazigund town after escorting an army convoy, he said, “As we crossed Anantnag town, an IED, planted on the road, exploded and it blew up our vehicle,” he said.
“I, along with 14 other soldiers, was immediately shifted to an army hospital in Srinagar. A few days later, I was shifted to the Command Hospital in Udhampur and a month later I was admitted to the Command Hospital, Chandimandir. As my health did not show improvement, I was admitted to this centre after two years,” he said, adding, “The centre had been a ray of hope for me and I have now improved a lot.”
Balbir said he had so many things to do after he would be discharged.
“I have to get my youngest son married. My elder son was married last year. I am also looking forward to stay with my grandchildren,” he said.
During his stay at the centre, Balbir made two friends, who had also served in J&K and suffered spinal injury.
38-year-old Arun Pal, a sepoy, was posted with the Army’s 55 RR in J&K’s Pulwama district. “We had an encounter with the militants on May 19, 2015 and I was hit by bullets in my back and right leg,” he said.
“I will miss Balbir. We have spent a lot of time together. During our conversations, we used to discuss a number of issues, especially of our duty days in Kashmir,” he said.
Another friend of Balbir, Ajit Kumar Shukla, 39, a sepoy, who was also posted with 58 RR in J&K’s Rajouri district, was hit by a bullet from across the Line of Control (LoC) on February 25, 2005. I also suffered a spinal injury,” he said. “We were connected by the basketball game. We all used to play the game in the evening,” he said.
Balbir said that he wished that his friends recover fast so that they are also discharged soon.