New Delhi, Oct 16: Agniveer Amritpal Singh died by suicide while on sentry duty in Poonch sector on October 11, and such cases are not entitled to military funerals, the Indian Army said in an official statement.
This statement follows a major political controversy over the Agniveer recruit not given a guard of honour. Around 100 to 140 soldiers lose their life due to suicides or self inflicted injuries, Military Funeral in such cases is not accorded, it added.
"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 to Military Funerals as per the extant Army Order of 1967, in vogue. Policy on the subject has been consistently followed ever since, without any discrimination," the statement read.
As per data, there has been an average yearly loss ranging between 100-140 soldiers since 2001 where deaths occurred due to suicides/self inflicted injuries, and military funeral in such cases was not accorded.
The disbursement of financial assistance/relief, as per entitlement, is given due priority including immediate financial relief for conduct of funerals. The death of Agniveer Amritpal Singh was unfortunate. There has been some misunderstanding and misrepresentation of facts related to his death, it said.
"Such unfortunate instances of loss bear heavy on the family and the forces as a fraternity. During such times, it is important and incumbent on the society to uphold the respect, privacy and dignity of the family while empathising with them in their moment of grief," the statement released on Sunday added.
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. It is a grave loss to the family and the Indian Army that Agniveer Amritpal Singh committed suicide by shooting himself while on sentry duty.
In consonance with the existing practice, the mortal remains, after conduct of medico - legal procedures, were transported under Army arrangements along with an escort party to the native place for the last rites.
Armed Forces are known for adherence to the policies and protocols and will continue to do so as hithertofore. "The Indian Army requests support of all sections of the society while it follows its established protocols," the Army said.