'We all feel alone without him': Village mourns youngest victim of Abu Dhabi terror attack

More than 1,000 people joined grieving relatives in India’s Punjab state to pray for Hardeep Singh

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Hundreds of relatives and friends streamed into the home of an Indian worker killed in a terrorist attack in Abu Dhabi to pay their final respects on Wednesday.

Men and women recited from the holy Sikh scripture and joined in the singing of kirtan hymns outside the home of Hardeep Singh in Mehsampur village in northern India’s Punjab state on the 10th day after his death.

Tanker driver Mr Singh, 29, was one of three men killed when vehicles caught fire following an assault by Yemeni’s Houthi rebels on an Adnoc oil store in the UAE on January 17.

His wife went into shock and kept saying, ‘Deep will come back. He will not leave us.’
Rajbir Singh, cousin of Abu Dhabi blast victim Hardeep Singh

A large photograph of him decorated with a garland of flowers was placed in an open area near his home.

More than 1,000 people bowed their heads for prayers asking for peace for his soul.

“People have come from all over Punjab to give the family strength and pray for peace in his journey,” Gagandeep Singh, a cousin who lives in Abu Dhabi and accompanied Hardeep’s body home, told The National.

“He was loved by so many. Never did anyone imagine this would happen to someone so young.

“Everyone is asking,' why did this attack have to happen to this family?' It is too tough and painful for his mother and wife to bear.”

World leaders have condemned the Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi and rejected any threat to the security and sovereignty of the UAE.

Recently married

Mr Singh was the youngest killed in the blast. His father passed away more than a year ago and as the only child, he was the sole support for his mother Charanjit Kaur.

His grieving widow Kanupriya Kaur wore red bangles at the prayer ceremony, signifying they were recently married.

The couple were married 10 months ago, after which she returned to study in Canada. Her husband returned to work in Abu Dhabi and was planning to visit her this year.

Abu Dhabi blast victim Hardeep Singh's wife Kanupriya Kaur and his mother Charanjit Kaur surrounded by grieving relatives at a prayer ceremony in Mehsampur village in northern India to mark 10 days since his death. Prabhjot Singh Gill for The National

Instead, she returned to India last week after being told Mr Singh was injured in an accident.

The family intended to break the news when she was back home surrounded by relatives. It was only when she saw the mourners gathered at his home that she realised he had been killed.

Another of his cousins, Rajbir Singh, said the family needed time to process the loss.

“His wife went into shock when she came home. She kept saying, ‘Deep will come back. He will not leave us.’ It is too difficult for the family.”

Hardeep Singh was a keen sportsman who enjoyed playing kabaddi and volleyball. The mourners included many of the young people he played sports with.

“He was a king of sports and inspired youngsters with his positivity. He was always available for any social work, for the development of the village,” Rajbir said.

“He was a gem of a person. He was like my brother, he was my brother. We grew up together.”

The family had observed the Lohri, a popular harvest festival on January 13 with Mr Singh and his wife joining the celebrations online.

The first Lohri holds special significance for newly-weds in Punjab as they seek blessings from the elders in the family.

“He was so excited and happy that they both could join us in the celebrations even if it was online,” Rajbir said.

“That was the last time we saw him. And then four days later he was dead. It is too much for us to handle. We all feel alone without him.”

The UAE Government and Adnoc have committed to maintaining support for all families who suffered from the attack.

Updated: January 28, 2022, 6:41 AM