Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan: Punjab farmer’s soldier son martyred on the border

22-year-old Rifleman Sukhbir Singh of 18 JAK RIF was killed in the line of duty on the LoC in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir

Image Courtesy:dnaindia.com

Even as the State ordered paramilitary and police forces to use lathis, water cannons, trucks, deep trenches baricages and razor wires against farmers marching for their rights, a farmer’s son was martyred at LoC in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir. Rifleman Sukhbir Singh of 18 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (JAK RIF) was just 22 years old, and hailed from a farmer’s family of Tarn Taran district of Punjab.

According to a report in the Indian Express, it was on Friday morning, when Kulwant Singh, a marginal farmer in village Khawaspur, Tarn Taran district, Punjab, got a life shattering phone call from the Army. He was informed that his son Sukhbir had been killed in the line of duty on the LoC in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir.  Rifleman Sukhbir Singh was just one month short of completing two years in the Army. He was among two jawans who died in the cross-border firing with the Pakistan Army that day, stated the news report.

His father was shocked and shattered, and was quoted saying, “Main taa bas che kanal zameen vich kheti karda haan. Sukhbir to saari aas si. Hun mainu pata nahi lag reya kee hoyega (I till only six kanals of land. I had pinned all my hopes on Sukhbir. Now I do not know what will happen).” 

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, condoled the death and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh for the next of his kin along with a government job for a member of the family.

According to Kulwant Singh, Sukhbir had come home on leave just four months ago, and arranged his sister’s wedding. “Apni bhen da vyah enne hee keeta chhutti aa ke, sara kujh enne keeta. Panj lakh rupaya udhaar lae ke aaya unit ton vyah layi (He had come on leave and got his sister married. He did everything. He took a Rs 5 lakh loan from the unit for the wedding),” said Kulwant.

The martyred soldier is the youngest of Kulwant’s four children, he has two elder sisters and his elder brother works as a labourer in Malaysia. Since childhood, Kuldeep had always wanted to join the army and serve the nation, recalled his father, “Cheevein sattvin ch seega te kehnda si main fauj vich jaana. Bada cha si ennu. Maharaj ne badi kirpa keeti te ae fauj vich select ho gaya. Te hun ae ho gaya hai (He was in class six or seven when he used to say I want to join the Army. He really wanted to join the Army. God was kind that he got selected. And now this has happened).” 

A marginal farmer, the father said he was immersed deep in his work and was not too aware of the farmer’s protests, and that no one from his village had marched to Delhi, “Main ta kamman vich lagga rehna. TV te vekheya si kujh raula pae reya. Sadde pindon koi nayi gaya (I remain busy in my work. I had seen on TV that there was some trouble. No one from our village has gone there),” Kulwant told IE.

According to the news report Rifleman Sukhbir’s body is expected to reach his village Khawaspur in Khadoor Sahib Tehsil by Saturday afternoon, and the cremation will take place in the evening. Rifleman Sukhbir Singh’s martyrdom in the service of the nation is a crucial reminder of the sacrifice of the farming community. Farmers from across the country, especially, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Utarakhand, etc have always sent their sons to defend the nation’s borders, now it is to be seen how the Government recognises their sacrifice and treats the community, which is now fighting for their rights.


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