Wrapped in Tricolour, the hearse of Lance Naik Tejpal Singh (33) was being carried to the cremation ground at his village in Sangel. Youths accompanied the procession as a chorus of “long live our hero” reverberated in the air.
Tejpal is among the nine Armymen who lost their lives when a truck carrying them skidded into a gorge in Leh on Saturday. Three of them were from Haryana — Ankit from Rohtak and Manmohan Singh of Palwal the other two. Their mortal remains reached their villages on Monday.
As Hitesh, Tejpal’s 6-year-old elder son, lit the funeral pyre, villagers broke down and bid farewell to the soldier.
Born to a family of farmers, Tejpal is survived by his father, wife and two sons — aged six and three years. “It was only a month ago that Tejpal came home and spent time with us. His wife and kids had gone to Leh on August 16. They were there when the accident occurred. But they were not told anything about it. Instead, they were asked to return home,” claimed one of the villagers.
In Rohtak’s Gaddi Kheri village, Ankit of the 311 Medium Regiment left behind a three-month pregnant wife.
Ankit, who joined the Army in 2019, got married to Preeti only five months ago. The Armyman — sole earning member of the family — completed the construction of his house and had been funding his brother’s education. Ankit’s brother Deepak performed the last rites. Labour minister Anoop Dhanak, MLA Balraj Kundu, deputy commissioner Ajay Kumar and police chief Himanshu Garg attended the last rites.
In Palwal’s Bahin village, Jawan Manmohan Singh’s one-year-old son sat on the lap of the priest. Helped by Dada Baburam, the priest, little Arpit lit the pyre. A gunner in the artillery wing, Manmohan had joined the Army in 2016. It was only five months ago that he was posted in Leh.