Col Navjot Singh Bal, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, passed away at a military hospital in Bengaluru on Thursday. The 39-year-old colonel had been battling cancer for two years.
Colonel Bal was suffering from rare cancer and was receiving chemotherapy. The lump on his right hand was first spotted in 2018 when his condition was revealed. Despite being on chemo, the athletic colonel continued to serve in the forces.
His right arm had been amputated in January 2019. But the aggressive cancer was spreading in the body, soon infecting his lungs, liver and heart.
Parents stuck in Delhi
The Army had left the decision to the family to decide the location of Colonel's cremation. Despite being given the permission to fly the parents in a military plane or bring the remains to the place of family's choice, it appears the parents of the late-colonel are still waiting to get permission to fly to Bangalore to perform the last rites.
Colonel Bal's father Lt Col KS Bal (retd) from the Garhwal Rifles, who hails from Amritsar and is now based in Gurugram, along with his wife are stuck in Gurgaon. The parents are waiting for approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has the power to sanction the movement even by service aircraft. The airlines have been shut due to the lockdown, even domestic travel has been restricted.
Colonel's parents, father 76 and mother 66, are said to be driving down to Bengaluru, which is nearly 2,200kms and it would take more than two days by road.
The Braveheart warrior
Colonel Bal continued his fitness regime and did not let cancer budge him down. Even with a single arm, colonel did 50 pull-ups and even ran 21-km half-marathon, The Print quoted some officials as saying. After losing his right arm, colonel Bal learned to fire from his left hand with the same ease, the report added.
Col Bal served at the Northern Command's Operation section in 2016 when the surgical strikes were carried out. On March 20, 2018, the colonel took over the Bangalore-based 2 Para as their commanding officer.
Col Bal had joined the National Defence Academy in 1998 and was later commissioned into the 2 Para in 2002.
Col Bal was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for an operation in the upper ranges of Kashmir's Lolab Valley where he along with his comrade chased a group of terrorists and shot two of them dead in close combat.
Colonel Bal is survived by wife Aarti, two sons -- Zorawar and Sarbaaz, aged 8 years and 4 years.