30-year-old from Punjab, killed in Russia, wanted to join Indian Army

Tragically, two months ago, he lost his life amid the Russia-Ukraine war, a fact only recently discovered by his grieving family.
30-year-old from Punjab, killed in Russia, wanted to join Indian Army

CHANDIGARH: Tejpal Singh, a 30-year-old from Punjab, embarked on a journey to Russia in January under a tourist visa, unaware that he would soon find himself enlisted in the Russian army.

Tragically, two months ago, he lost his life amid the Russia-Ukraine war, a fact only recently discovered by his grieving family. Tejpal had harboured aspirations of joining the Indian army, casting a shadow of sorrow over his home in Amritsar. Regrettably, he is not the only casualty from India in this conflict, with 23-year-old Hemil Ashvinbhai Mangukiya from Surat and 31-year-old Mohammad Asfan from Hyderabad also meeting similar fates this year.

Tejpal’s family only learned of his demise in the Russia-Ukraine war on March 12, though the news reached them just a few days ago. The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed the deaths of two Indians in the conflict, withholding their identities, though it is widely believed that Tejpal was among them.

Originally from Palam Vihar on Majitha Road, on the outskirts of Amritsar, Tejpal’s parents, Preetpal Singh and Sarabjit Kaur, operate a grocery shop in the area. Tejpal was their eldest son; tragically, his younger brother, Gagandeep Singh, passed away in 2019 due to a heart attack. Tejpal had married Parminder Kaur in 2017, and they have a six-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter.

Inconsolable, Parminder Kaur reflects, “My husband dreamt of joining the army since childhood. Despite numerous attempts, he couldn’t secure a spot in the Indian Army or paramilitary forces. Hence, he sought opportunities abroad, leading him to Russia on a tourist visa, arriving on January 12.

He was recruited into the Russian army on January 16 and underwent rigorous theoretical and practical training. Subsequently, he was stationed at the Ukraine border, where he met his untimely end on March 12. Knowing several acquaintances from Punjab and Haryana who had joined the Russian forces influenced his decision to enlist.”

Throughout his training, Tejpal kept in touch with his wife, regularly sharing photographs of his arduous regimen.

His final call to her came on March 3, wherein he expressed his inability to communicate for the next few days due to impending deployment to Tokmak, a city in south-central Ukraine, where communication was restricted.

“When days passed without word from him, we managed to contact the army authorities, only to receive the devastating news of his demise in the war,” Kaur recounted.

Kept in touch till Mar 3

Throughout his training, Tejpal kept in touch with his wife, regularly sharing photographs of his arduous regimen. His final call to her came on March 3, wherein he expressed his inability to communicate for the next few days due to impending deployment to Tokmak, a city in south-central Ukraine, where communication was restricted.

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