Agniveer Amritpal Singh's death has been officially declared a case of suicide by the Indian Army, leading to a significant controversy in Punjab surrounding the absence of a guard of honour at his funeral.
The army has also acknowledged "some misunderstanding and misrepresentation of facts" related to his death.
Amritpal Singh had passed away while on sentry duty in the Rajouri Sector due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 11 October, stated the army. A court of inquiry is actively investigating the incident to gather more details.
The army stated on Sunday, "It is a grave loss to both the family and the Indian Army that Agniveer Amritpal Singh took his own life."
Unfortunate Death of Agniveer Amritpal Singh on 11 Oct 2023.— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) October 15, 2023
There has been some misunderstanding and misrepresentation of facts related to unfortunate death of Agniveer Amritpal Singh.
Further to the initial information given out by White Knight Corps on 14 Oct 2023,â¦ pic.twitter.com/6rhaOu3hN8
The army emphasised that the armed forces do not differentiate between soldiers who enlisted before or after the implementation of the Agnipath Scheme regarding entitled benefits and protocols.
In response to protests from various quarters about the absence of a guard of honour at his funeral, the army clarified, "Since the cause of death was a self-inflicted injury, in line with the prevailing policy, no guard of honour or military funeral was provided."
"Unfortunate instances of death arising out of suicide/self-inflicted injury, irrespective of the type of entry, are accorded due respect by the armed forces along with deep and enduring empathy with the family. Such cases, however, are not entitled Military Funerals as per the extant Army Order of 1967," the army reiterated.
Data indicates that on average, between 100 and 140 soldiers have succumbed to suicide or self-inflicted injuries each year since 2001.
In such instances, a military funeral is not provided, but the family is entitled to financial assistance, as per the army's statement.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expressed his commitment to providing Rs 1 crore to the soldier's family, regardless of the army's policy, in a post on X (formerly Twitter) asserting that his government's policy would remain consistent in honouring a martyr.
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