Group Captain Gurpreet Singh Cheema (50), who lost his life in the Patiala air crash on February 24, nurtured a dream of seeing his daughter getting commissioned into one of the three Services — the Indian Army, Navy or Air Force.
Kunjdeep Kaur (22), an engineering graduate, did not let her father down. However, as luck would have it, she joined the Navy the day he was cremated.
As Bhav Gurmeet Singh, Cheema’s 13-year-old son, saluted his father before lighting the pyre today, his sister was being formally commissioned into the Navy after clearing her medical examination in New Delhi.
The daughter, knowing well she could not be present at the cremation, paid her last respects at Patiala yesterday before the body was taken to his native village in Gurdaspur in the evening.
The mourners were led by Air Commodore Joy Thomas Kurien, who heads the Pathankot Air Force Station, from the defence side, while Gurdaspur DC Mohammad Ishfaq and SDM Sakattar Singh Bal represented the civil administration. All roads led to the village cremation ground as hundreds paid respect to Group Captain. The political class, however, was conspicuous by its absence.
Alowal falls in the Assembly segment of Qadian represented by Congress MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa. “I wanted to attend the cremation but for the ongoing Budget session. My sympathies are with the family. I will ensure they get all due benefits from the government,” said Bajwa.