The death of Agniveer Amritpal Singh was a case of suicide, the army has said amid a huge row in Punjab over the lack of a guard of honour at his funeral. It also admitted to “some misunderstanding and misrepresentation of facts” related to his death.
Amritpal Singh had died during sentry duty in Rajouri Sector, due to a self-inflicted gunshot injury on October 11, the army said earlier. A court of inquiry is working to ascertain more details, it had said.
“It is a grave loss to the family and the Indian Army that Agniveer Amritpal Singh had shot himself,” the army said on Sunday. “Armed Forces do not differentiate between the soldiers who joined prior to or after implementation of the Agnipath Scheme as regards entitled benefits and protocols,” read a statement by the army.
Amid opposition protests yesterday over the lack of Guard of Honour, the army said, “The cause of death being a self-inflicted injury, no guard of honour or military funeral was provided, in accordance with the existing policy”.
“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 has now reiterated.
Data shows on an average, 100 to 140 soldiers have died every year since 2001 by suicide or self-inflicted injuries. In such cases, military funeral is not accorded but the family is given financial assistance as per entitlement, it added.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, yesterday, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said whatever the army policy, his government’s policy will remain the same for a martyr and it will give Rs 1 crore to the family of the soldier.