A New Father, a New Husband, a Sena Medallist: The 5 Army Men Killed in Poonch

Five Indian soldiers lost their lives in a fierce gunfight with militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district.

6 min read

Video Producer: Naman Shah
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

Sepoy Saraj Singh, recently wedded, had last visited his home in Uttar Pradesh's Banda in July.

Singh, 26, was among the five Indian soldiers who lost their lives in a fierce gunfight with militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector on Monday, 11 October, during an anti-insurgency mission.

The deceased army personnel, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO), died in a turbulent crossfire in Dera ki Gali village in the border area of Surankote.

"The family is mourning the loss. He (Saraj Singh) last visited home in June-July this year. I last met him in December 2019 as I was at my army (duty). He got married in 2019," Sukhveer Singh, Saraj's brother, told news agency ANI.

Saraj Singh had joined the army in June 2015. He was the youngest of three brothers, both of whom are also in the army and posted in Kashmir.

On the night of 10 October, at around eight o'clock, Saraj spoke with his wife as usual and said he was going to sleep as he was feeling very sleepy. His wife could not have imagined that she would never be able to hear his voice again, that after this moment, he would fall into such a deep sleep that he would never wake up again.

Saraj Singh's sister-in-law, while talking to The Quint, told that on the morning of 11 October, when the news of Saraj Singh's martyrdom was received, the whole family was shocked and the entire village was inconsolable.


'He Had Called a Few Days Back, He Sounded Happy'

(Photo Courtesy: White Knight Corps)

Meanwhile, military officer Mandeep Singh's family in Chatha, Gurdaspur, Punjab, paid tribute to the sacrifice of the braveheart,who was martyred just a week before his birthday on 16th October.

Mandeep had joined the Indian Army in September 2011, when he was posted at Daraba in Poonch. Singh had recently become the father of a boy, his second child after a five-year-old son.

The Quint spoke to Rajveer Kaur, sister of Mandeep's wife.

"He used to make video calls every day to see his younger son. The last time we got a video call from him was at 1 pm on Sunday and (he) was watching his child. After that, on 10 October, we got the news of his martyrdom," she said.

Rajveer Kaur said Mandeep had come home on leave a month ago when his son was born. He was eager to come see his child again. He used to do a video call everyday so that he could see the face of his new-born.

Meanwhile, his cousin Gurmukh Singh told ANI, "Mandeep was a great football and basketball player. We are very proud that Mandeep has sacrificed his life for the country. Just a few days back, Mandeep called and sounded happy."

Mandeep is survived by his elderly mother, wife, and their two children.

Sena Medallist NB Jaswinder Singh Had Planned To Visit Home

Naik Subedar Jaswinder Singh, in 2006, had been bestowed with the Sena Medal for his contribution in the neutralisation of three terrorists in Kashmir.

Singh's family members, speaking to The Indian Express, shared that on Saturday, merely two days before the jawan's death in Poonch, he had called home to enquire about a ceremony that was being organised to commemorate his late father, who had also served in the military.

On the night of the 10 October, as soon as he got the news that a few terrorists were hiding in the forest, Jaswinder Singh, who had been in the Indian Army for nearly 20 years, took to the front without caring for his life.

His father Harbhajan Singh, who died in May earlier this year, had retired from the post of Captain in the Army. Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Manan Talwandi village, is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter and his mother.

The Quint spoke to his brother Rajinder Singh, who said, "He was sounding very happy on the call on Sunday. He spoke with all the family members and said, if I come on leave next month, I will get all the household work done, don't you worry."

Rajinder Singh said that Jaswinder had come home on leave in May, when their father had died. He was supposed to return in November to perform the last rites of their father. "Who knew that now we would have to prepare for his last rites," his brother said.

"I spoke with him just one day back. He had told me that he would be home two days later, he had taken a 15-day leave. He had shown great valour so he was given Sena Medal. He wanted our son to join the Army," Ravinder Kaur, Singh's wife, was quoted as saying by ANI.

"He was good and used to run the family, it has become difficult now. All those who lost their lives along with him were also like my son. We don't have land or property. What will we do? When my grandson grows up I'll send him to join Army," the martyr's mother Gurpal Kaur was quoted as saying.


A Keralite Jawan of the 16th Rashtriya Rifles Battalion

Vaisakh H, 23, had joined the army in 2017 and is survived by his mother and sister. Vaisakh, who took the responsibility of the house after his father had lost his job due to the pandemic, was the only earning person in the family. His marriage had recently been fixed, but he refused to get married as he wanted his sister to get married first.

A jawan of the 16 Rashtriya Rifles battalion of the 22nd Mechanical Department, Vaisakh had resided in Kottarakkara Odanavattom in Kerala.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday mourned the demise of the brave-heart, news agency PTI reported.

Married Just 4 Months Ago

(Photo Courtesy: White Knight Corps)

Sepoy Gajjan Singh, who laid down his life in Poonch on Monday, belonged to the Punjab's Pachranda village, located in Ropar district.

The army officer, who had been married merely four months ago, is survived by his wife Harpreet Kaur.

On 26 October, he had planned to return to his village to celebrate his birthday with his family. Speaking about the last conversation he had with his son, Gajjan's father Charan Singh told The Quint:

"The last time I spoke to my son was on October 8. He did not mention or talk about any operation on that day. He had said that everything was fine over there. Never did we think that we would be hearing our son's voice for the last time. His birthday was on 26th October and he had said that this time he would be celebrating his birthday with us, but he will never come now. My dear son is no more, my world is ruined. What should I do now?" he said.

Gajjan Singh, a resident of Pacharanda village in Rupnagar district, was the youngest of four brothers and was married just eight months back. His wife is in shock ever since she received the news of her husband's death.

His colleagues said that just one slap from the tall and robust Gajjan Singh during interrogation was enough to get enemies to speak.

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