New Delhi: Amid a major political controversy over not giving a guard of honour to an Agniveer recruit, the Indian Army has said that between 100 and 140 soldiers have died ever year of “suicide/self-inclicted injuries” since 2001. It further said that “military funeral in such cases was not accorded”.
Responding to allegations that military honours were not given to Agniveer Amritpal Singh, who allegedly committed suicide at a forward Indian position along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on October 11, the Army wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that there had been “some misunderstanding and misrepresentation of facts”.
“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,” it wrote.
“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 wrote.
“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 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,” it wrote.
“As per data held, 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,” it wrote.
“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,” it wrote. “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.”