No military funeral in case of death from self-inflicted injury: Army
After questions were raised by Opposition parties in Punjab regarding the cremation of the late Agniveer Amritpal Singh being conducted without being given a guard of honour, the Army issued a statement explaining why the tradition was not followed.
Amritpal Singh was the first Agniveer to lose his life in the line of duty in Jammu and Kashmir on October 11. Singh, who was serving with a battalion of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles in the Poonch sector, was cremated on Friday at his native village in Punjab’s Mansa district.
As per reports, 21-year-old Singh’s family had to transport his mortal remains in a private ambulance.
Dismissing the reports, the Army, in a statement, said since Singh’s cause of death was a “self-inflicted gunshot injury”, no guard of honour or military funeral was provided, in accordance with the existing policy.
“In an unfortunate incident, Agniveer Amritpal Singh died while on sentry duty in Rajouri Sector, due to a self-inflicted gunshot injury. A court of inquiry to ascertain more details is in progress,” said the statement.
Army also dismissed reports of no army official attending the late Agniveer’s funeral.
Mortal remains of Singh, accompanied by a junior commissioned officer and four other ranks, were transported in a civil ambulance hired by the unit of the Agniveer, said the statement, adding that accompanying army personnel also attended the last rites.
“The cause of death being a self-inflicted injury, no guard of honour or military funeral was provided, in accordance with the existing policy,” it added.
Army’s statement came After Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said she was shocked to learn that Singh was cremated without the army guard of honour.
She sought intervention from Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in the matter, seeking necessary directions to accord military honours to all martyred soldiers.
“Shocked to learn that Agniveer Amritpal Singh, who was martyred in the line of duty in Poonch in J-K was cremated without an Army guard of honour & even his body was brought to his native village in Mansa in a private ambulance by his family!,” Badal posted on X.
“It is learnt that this happened because Amritpal was an #Agniveer. We must accord due respect to all our soldiers. Request Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to issue directions to accord military honours to all martyred soldiers,” she said.
Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring also said, “This is a sad day for our country as this (soldier) who was recruited under the Agniveer scheme was sent back home in a private ambulance and not given any guard of honour by the @adgpi.”
“Does being an Agniveer mean that their lives don’t matter as much,” he asked.
“The bereaved family had to request the local Punjab Police to give our young boy a guard of honour. Is this why @BJP4India started this policy? Is this how we will treat our Agniveers, different from the rest of our soldiers? Does the Central Government have any answers for this inhuman treatment of our young martyr? Shameful!,” Warring wrote on X.
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal attacked the Bhagwant Mann government, saying he was shocked by the refusal of the chief minister to send any state-level dignitary to give a befitting farewell to the young martyr.