Armyman declared martyr in '71 war; kin say he is in Pak jail
On December 3, 1971, the family of Jugraj Singh, who hailed from Jeeda village in Bathinda was informed by the army that he had achieved martyrdom while fighting for the country.punjab Updated: Sep 18, 2012 01:08 IST
On December 3, 1971, the family of Jugraj Singh, who hailed from Jeeda village in Bathinda was informed by the army that he had achieved martyrdom while fighting for the country. "We all the jawans, JCOs and officers express our deep grief over the sad demise of your husband Jugraj Singh (No1524871, Sappers). He has sacrificed his life in getting Bangladesh liberated and protecting his motherland," Lt Col MS Gosain had written to Jugraj's widow Gurmail Kaur on
December 28, 1971. "His body has been cremated as per traditions," the letter read.
Decades later, Jugraj's daughter Parmjeet Kaur (42), who was a year old at that time, have sound reasons not to believe that her father is dead. "On July 16, 2012, I contacted one Satish Kumar, who had worked as a spy in Pakistan and undergone nearly 12-year imprisonment there. He was released in July 1986. I showed him my father's photograph and he told me that he had seen my father in Shahi Quila of Lahore in 1974."
Satish Kumar, a Ferozepur resident, told HT over phone that, "We had spent three-four days in Shahi Quila, Lahore, and Jugraj Singh was there. There were 52-53 POWs (prisoners of war) there. I met BJP leader LK Advani in 2005 to in this regard, but to no avail," said Satish.
"Before Satish Kumar's revelation, one Manjeet Kaur, wife of Charanjeet Singh who is a retired soldier from 104 Engineer Regiment, Bombay Sappers, and hails from our neighbouring village Harraipore (Tinkoni) gave us information about my father," said Parmjeet Kaur, daughter of Jugraj Singh. Manjeet Kaur claimed to have got information about some prisoners in Pakistan jails while she was listening to radio news on September 20, 2004. She had claimed that she heard the name and address of Jugraj Singh being announced on radio, Parmjeet Kaur added.
"After Manjeet Kaur gave us the information, I tried to confirm the news from radio stations but without any success. I was alone and nobody helped me in this matter," says Balvir Singh, Jugraj Singh's brother.
Parmjeet said she is trying to get more information about her father and have met commanding officer of the 102 Engineer Regiment, Bombay Sappers, based at Srinagar on August 6, 2012, who have submitted the case to the headquarters. "I have been constantly in touch with the United Nations Organisation and had recently met Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal."
"I believe that my father is languishing in some Pakistan jail as reported by Satish Kumar," says Parmjeet. Jugraj Singh was born in Jeeda village on May 13, 1945. Eldest of five brothers, he joined army on May 13, 1963. He was a sepoy in 102 Engineering Regiment, Bombay Sappers.
"My father participated in Operation Cactus Lily from August 4 to December 4, 1971, as per records available with us," says Parmjeet.
"Now we want the government to look into the matter and if my father is still alive and is lodged in some Pakistani jail, he should be brought back," she says. "Earlier, we had accepted that he had been killed in war, but now we find the fact hard to digest."
The family also have in their possession the video recording of the claims of Satish Kumar and the woman who claimed to have heard the radio news pertaining to Jugraj Singh's presence in a Pakistani jail.
First Published: Sep 18, 2012 01:07 IST