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“‘Papa, Please Come Home Once, Then Go Back on Your Mission’: Army Colonel Manpreet Singh’s Wife Shares Son’s Heartfelt Messages After His Death in Jammu and Kashmir”

In a poignant tale of love and loss, seven-year-old Kabir remains blissfully unaware that his father, Colonel Manpreet Singh, will never return. The young boy continues to send voice messages to his father’s phone, pleading for his return. “Papa bus ek baar aa jao, phir mission pe chale jana (Papa, please come back once, and then you can resume your duties),” he whispers, sometimes in secrecy, hoping for a video call from his father. Colonel Singh’s ultimate act of bravery occurred on September 13 last year during a joint operation in the forests near Gadool village. Engaged in a fierce gun battle with terrorists, Colonel Singh, Major Aashish Dhonchak, J-K Police Deputy Superintendent Humanyun Bhat, and Sepoy Pardeep Singh sacrificed their lives, leaving an irreplaceable void.

As the commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) unit, Colonel Singh was a symbol of bravery and leadership in some of the most terrorism-affected areas, including Larkipora, Zaldoora, and Kokernag in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district. He is fondly remembered by locals for his selfless service and heroic efforts. The absence of Colonel Singh has profoundly affected his family, particularly his wife, Jagmeet. She recalls the time when he planted two Chinar trees, named after their children, Kabir and Vani, with the hope of returning in ten years to see them flourish. Now, this dream feels heartbreakingly distant.

Jagmeet shared her story from Mohali, Punjab, recounting how passionate Colonel Singh was about improving the lives of Kashmiris. She spoke of the challenges in explaining to their children that their father would not be coming back. “Often Mann (Colonel Manpreet) would receive calls in the dead of night, ensuring help was provided, whether resolving a personal dispute or arranging hospitalisation. He was like family to the locals,” she said. Jagmeet’s last conversation with her husband, lasting just 32 seconds, ended with his final words, “Operation mein hoon (I am in operation),” before she lost contact forever.

Colonel Singh’s commitment extended beyond his military duties. He was instrumental in rehabilitation efforts, helping drug addicts find paths to recovery and empowering women through sports and education. Rubbiya Sayeed, a prominent women cricketer from Anantnag, praised his belief in the power of sports to build society. She recalled how he sent many addicts for rehabilitation and focused on making women self-reliant and economically independent. His generosity was also evident in his support for the local Gurdwara at Zaldoora, providing a generator to ensure uninterrupted recitation of the ‘Gurubani’.

Colonel Singh’s headquarters became a beacon of hope, where the youth found guidance for a better future. Locals remembered him as a kind, supportive figure, with Rayees recounting how Singh treated him like a brother and how his son played with Kabir. “He was our last resort whenever we faced problems,” Rayees said, highlighting Colonel Singh’s gentlemanly demeanor and his significant positive influence on the community.

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Author:- Apoorva Arora

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