“My daughter Jagmeet Kaur (40) called her husband, Col Manpreet Singh, yesterday morning but he hung up saying ‘abhi operation mai jaa raha hu’. His reply did not surprise us as search operations are routine in Kashmir. Although we were informed about the martyrdom of our son-in-law by yesterday evening, we told Jagmeet Kaur about it today morning,” Jagdev Singh Grewal (75), father-in- law of the martyred Army officer, told The Indian Express sitting at their house in Panchkula Sector 26.
Jagdev Singh Grewal, a retired government officer of the Haryana secretariat, said, Jagmeet Kaur along with her two children—Kabir Singh (6) and Banni Kaur (2)—returned just a fortnight ago after staying with Col Manpreet in Kashmir. Telephonic conversations between the couple were normal. The children too used to talk to their father over the phone. It is a huge loss to us. We went to the airport assuming that the mortal remains of my son-in-law would come today. But there we were told that the Army formalities would take time. The mortal remains will reach here tomorrow afternoon.”
Kaur, who teaches at Government Senior Secondary School, Madana, in Morni Hills, Panchkula, was told about the death of her husband only on Thursday. Till Wednesday night, she was told that Col Manpreet Singh was badly injured. She was inconsolable.
The six-year-old son of the couple, Kabir Singh, is still unaware about the death of his father. The family preferred to send him to school in Sector 26 Chandigarh as usual. The two-year-old Banni Kaur is too little to understand what happened to her father.
“My sister got married to Army officer Manpreet Singh in 2016. It was an arranged marriage. Col Manpreet Singh had come home on one-month-long leave three months ago. I used to talk to him over the phone every two days. He was a brave man. Their children are still unaware about the martyrdom of their father,” Rahul Grewal, brother-in-law of the martyred officer, said while standing outside their house in Panchkula.
A pall of gloom descended on Kaur’s house in Sector 26 last night. Hundreds of schoolteachers and local residents have been visiting the house. Senior Army officers visited the house. However, District Education Officer Satpal Kaushik was the only government officer from the Panchkula administration who has visited the house so far.
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