Following news of the 24-year-old rifleman Karamjeet Singh’s demise during a ceasefire violation along the LoC, his father Avtar Singh (58), also a former Armyman, had one question for the prime minister Narendra Modi: “For how much longer would soldiers fall victim to the mudslinging between India and Pakistan?”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Avtar Singh said that like many other youths in the state, Karamjeet also wanted to live abroad, but he had stopped him and asked him to join the Indian Army.
As per the defence ministry, Karamjeet was badly injured in firing by Pakistan troops along the border in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri in Jammu & Kashmir at around 5.30 am. He then succumbed to his injuries. Three other troopers were also injured in the firing.
Avtar Singh, who quit the Indian Army as naik, said that though he is proud his son died fighting for the nation, he wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “find a permanent solution to our issues with Pakistan and save young men who are sacrificing their lives every other day at the border.”
“Karamjeet had joined the Army in 2015 after completing Class XII. He actually wanted to migrate and settle abroad, but I had stopped him as we did not have the money to help him do so. I suggested to him that he join the Army so he does not fell prey to drugs and liquor which often happens to children in Punjab’s villages if they are unemployed for long. He liked playing kabaddi,” he added.
The former army man asked why children of poor families are suffering due to the India-Pakistan deadlock with no solution in sight. “I want to ask the government why we are unable to find a permanent solution to our issues with Pakistan. That country is supporting terrorism and also killing our sons on the border.
I appreciate that we did air strikes in Balakot to take revenge for the Pulwama attack, but nothing has changed. How long will this go on? News channels keep boasting about the might of our army, air force and navy but what is the use of all this if we have to get our soldiers killed? I am not in favour of any war, war only means destruction. But if this is how soldiers have to die on a daily basis, then why not get it over with for once and all?” asked Avtar Singh, shaking with anger.
He further said, adding that: “Stone pelters who are separatists and want to divide India are supported by the government but army men are left to die. They pelt stones on our forces but are saved and protected. Are army men meant to die and their families left to suffer for life? My world has come down crashing today…No one can understand this pain except us who lost our child…”
Karamjeet took charge in J&K for the past year and a half. He was supposed to come home to attend a family wedding on March 16 but unfortunately, his leave was cancelled. Karamjeet has an elder brother, Swaran, and sister, Satbir Kaur. “My elder son is a farmer and we have three acres of land. I request the government to provide him a job,” said Avtar Singh.