Amid lockdown, parents undertake over 2,000 km journey for Army officer's funeral

09:43 AM Apr 12, 2020 | Team Udayavani |
Bengaluru: In the wake of a nation-wide lockdown, parents of a gallantry award-winning officer had to undertake an over 2000-km-long journey by road to attend the funeral of their son in Bengaluru, according to a family member. Col Navjot Singh Bal, who had earned a Shaurya Chakra and ran marathons despite battling cancer, died on Thursday at a hospital in Bengaluru, officials said. The late officer''s brother, Navtez Singh Bal, has been writing about the journey undertaken by the family starting from Amritsar. "Thank you sir. At the moment my parents are in Delhi figuring out a way to reach Bangalore to perform the last rites! I hope that The Forces will also be able to say ''they can'' and not force them to drive 2000+ km to get to Bangalore," he tweeted. "Thank you all for the support! We have just reached Vadodara. Massive help and support from the Forces on the way. What a wonderful institution! If all goes well, we will hit Bangalore tomorrow night," he again tweeted. Army sources on Saturday said the family was offered a military aircraft to transport the body of the soldier to the national capital for cremation with full military honours at Brar Square in Delhi Cantonment. However, the family has expressed the desire to have the cremation in Bengaluru, they said. Both civilians and people belonging to the armed forces have been condoling Col Bal''s death, with tributes pouring on social media. Many on Twitter even hoped some help would come to the family en route to Bengaluru. India is currently under a nation-wide lockdown in view of the coronavirus pandemic, and all means of transportation have been suspended, except for essential services. "Quick update. Now 650 km away from Bangalore. Massive support and help from the Forces and Police. Everyone at the frontline is doing a fantastic job in managing the spread of the virus," Navtez Singh Bal tweeted on Saturday. Some Army veterans expressed sadness after the parents of this decorated officer were forced to travel such a long distance by road to perform the last rites of their son. In a tweet, former Army chief Gen (retd) V P Malik, replying to a post by Col Bal''s brother, wrote, "Deepest condolences! Have a safe journey. Sad GOI did not help. Rules are never written on stone. They are modified or changed in special circumstances."

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