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Kotli Kalan: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann on Monday handed over a cheque of Rs 1 crore to family of Agniveer Amritpal Singh as mark of respect to the brave warrior who made ultimate sacrifice, while serving the country in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Chief Minister asserted that the state government would accord the status of a martyr to Amritpal Singh in recognition of his immense contribution to the nation. Bhagwant Singh Mann, along with the parents of the country's first martyr Agniveer Amritpal Singh, paid tribute to the martyred soldier who sacrificed his life for the nation at the age of 19. He said that the state government stands firmly with the family during this time of grief.

The Chief Minister said that the state government recognises the irreparable loss to the nation and particularly to the martyr's family. He said that a statue in the memory of the martyr would also be installed in the village. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that Punjabis have ever inspired the countrymen to sacrifice their lives for sake of country.

Miffed over the army for not giving a guard of honor to Shaheed Amritpal Singh, the Chief Minister said this act of discrimination will hurt the morale of the army personnel. He said that this step motherly treatment towards a martyred Agniveer is despicable and highly condemnable. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that Amritpal's parents had sent their son to selflessly serve the nation, and it is truly unfortunate that his sacrifice, in the line of duty, hasn't been recognized as that of a martyr, setting a concerning precedent.

The Chief Minister said that it is shameful that for the first time the body of a martyred soldier was brought in a private ambulance which is an insult to a martyr solider. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that 60 percent of the country's budget is for the defense sector, but it is unfortunate that the army has not even provided an ambulance to carry the body of martyr Amritpal Singh.

He said that it is even more unfortunate that the army declared Amritpal's martyrdom as a suicide, which he said was like rubbing salt into the wounds of the martyr's family.

The Chief Minister said that a courageous soldier who embarks on their duty with the commitment to lay down his life for the country could never commits suicide. He stressed that if martyrs were to be treated in this manner, it might dissuade parents from sending their children to the army. Strongly opposing the Agniveer scheme, Bhagwant Singh Mann said that it was an insult to the contribution of the brave soldiers and the Central government should reconsider the scheme.

The Chief Minister said that jobs of army personnel recruited under the Agniveer scheme should be regularized. Bhagwant Singh Mann reiterated that no matter what policy the Centre adopts towards the martyrs of the country, the Punjab government is committed to honouring the families and supreme sacrifices of all brave sons of Punjab. Coming down heavily on the Central government for adopting a step-motherly treatment for Agniveer martyr, he said that it is shameful that centre has adopted apathetic attitude towards valiant son of country who had laid down his life to uphold the unity, integrity and sovereignty.

The Chief Minister said that it is completely unjustified and disrespecting the martyrdom of the son of this Punjab. Bhagwant Singh Mann said he would soon take up the issue with the Government of India. He said that the state government will impress upon the Union government to roll back this scheme which is grave insult of the brave soldiers.



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