To attend his funeral, Army officer’s parents travel 2000 km amid lockdown

The late officer's brother, Navtez Singh Bal, has written about the journey undertaken by the family starting from Amritsar

Colonel Navjot Singh Bal's parents are driving from Gurugram to Bengaluru to attend his funeral. Photo: Twitter

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 NS Bal, who had earned a Shaurya Chakra and ran marathons despite battling cancer, died on Thursday (April 11) 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.

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“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 on Friday.

“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.

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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 that some help would come to the family en route to Bengaluru.

India is currently under a nationwide 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) VP 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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