They showered flower petals at the spot on the Jammu-Srinagar highway where a suicide bomber hit his explosives-laden car into a convoy of CRPF killing 40 troops.
As the sad news of Col. Manpreet Singh, Commanding Officer of 19 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), being killed in a gunfight with terrorists in Anantnag came in today, a mist of gloom descended across New Chandigarh and Panchkula.
Many remember that the brave officer had earlier been honoured with the Sena Medal for valour. That was as recently as 2021 when he was serving as a Lieutenant Colonel with the RR.
Then also he had confronted and crushed militants in Jammu and Kashmir who had started firing randomly. The 19 RR is the same battalion that took out terrorist Burhan Wani in 2016.
According to media reports, his brother-in-law Virender Gill spoke to him on the morning of September 13 when Col Manpreet told him that he was busy and that he would speak to him later. Sadly, that never happened as Virender received the news of his brother-in-law’s death.
The officer’s family was currently staying in a DLF enclave in the township, and he was originally from the Bharaunjian hamlet near New Chandigarh in the Mohali district. Mother, wife Jagmeet Grewal, and their two children—a daughter who is six years old and a son who is two—remain behind for Col. Manpreet Singh.
Jagmeet is a teacher of economics who works for the Haryana government and is assigned to the Panchkula region. She used to frequently visit her parents, who reside in Sector 26 of Panchkula, according to family friends.
Col. Manpreet Singh sustained serious gunshot wounds while commanding his soldiers from the front. The RR and the police had joined forces to conduct an operation in response to specific intelligence regarding the Garol forests in the Anantnag area.
They remembered that Col. Manpreet Singh was a second-generation soldier because his later father had served in the Army as a non-commissioned officer as a steady stream of mourners, well-wishers, and family members streamed in. They remembered him as a sociable individual who was cordial with everyone and devoted to his line of work.
According to army sources, Col. Manpreet Singh served with the same RR battalion for approximately five years, the first three as the second-in-command and the last two as the Commanding Officer. He had served for roughly 17 years in the infantry’s Sikh Light Infantry after being commissioned.