Punjab CM expresses anguish over no guard of honour for Agniveer Amritpal Singh
Mann questioned this decision of the army, arguing that anyone who serves the country should be considered a martyr, not just those killed by enemy action.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday, 15 September, expressed anguish over the Army not giving a guard of honour during the last rites of Agniveer Amritpal Singh who died in Jammu and Kashmir on 11 October.
The chief minister also said that he would raise the issue with Army officials.
A row erupted recently over the issue of Amritpal not being accorded a military funeral, with political parties expressing shock over the matter.
The Army, however, issued a statement on Saturday saying since Amritpal Singh's cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot injury, no guard of honour or military funeral was provided in accordance with the existing policy.
Singh, who was serving with a battalion of the Army's Jammu and Kashmir Rifles unit in the Poonch sector, was cremated on Friday at his native village in Punjab's Mansa district.
On Saturday, Mann said his government would raise a strong objection with the Centre over this matter.
Speaking to reporters a day later, the chief minister said that as per his government's policy, the slain soldier's family will be given a compensation of Rs 1 crore.
Expressing displeasure, Mann said the Army sent Amritpal's body in a private ambulance.
He also questioned why the Army could not give Amritpal a guard of honour. "Why not? You gave him the uniform and he is a martyr of the country," Mann said.
The chief minister asserted that since there was no change in his government's policy, he would meet with Amritpal's family on Monday and hand over the cheque.
Mann added that the Punjab government considers any soldier who lays down his life for the country a martyr.
If any soldier suffers a heart attack or a brain haemorrhage at minus 40 degrees temperature, he should be regarded as a martyr as he was serving the nation, he added.
"It is not necessary that he be killed by an enemy bullet," Mann stressed.
The Punjab chief minister also said he has been opposing the Agniveer scheme of the Army.