Martyrs' families becoming victim to Government's apathy

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Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate
At a time when we are remembering our war heroes on the occasion of 15th anniversary of Vijay Diwas, sad story of Indira Jadhav, a war widow who lost her husband in 1965 India-Pakistan war is very distressing. The case of Indira which came for hearing in Bombay High Court on Thursday highlights the agony of many similar families of war heroes which have been battling with Government's apathy.

Indira, 72, in her petition said that her husband had applied for allotting 10 acres for cultivation, as per provisions for serving soldiers and ex-servicemen to avail land, but till date she has not received anything.

Her lawyer contended that after long struggle, she was offered land at an isolated location with no facilities around and so she rejected it and now, the Government is asking her to pay the market price for the land which was promised to her.

Recently, Subhashini Vasanth wife of martyr Col Vasanth Venugopal, who was killed during an encounter with militants at LoC in Jammu & Kashmir in July 2007, said that she was promised land by the Karnataka Government in 2007 but it never fulfilled its promises. Vasanth not only had to deal with the sudden loss of her husband but has also been made to run around Government offices for a piece of land that was promised to her as part of the compensation. But, when her ordeal was highlighted by media, Ministry of Defence asked State Government to act fast on the matter.

Recounting her agony, she said, "It is not just me but the family of every soldier feels there is no gratitude. I hope things change for the better and such occurrences should be stopped and respect ought to be given to our soldiers who sacrifice everything for the country."

Families of war heroes getting shabby treatment from Government

Very often Governments are quick to make announcements, but when it comes to actually handing over the compensation, the beneficiaries have to run from pillar to post to get their dues.

In January this year, family of India's second Param Vir Chakra awardee, Captain Karam Singh, threatened to auction his medal to bring into notice the agony they are going through due to indifferent attitude of the Government. The family for the long time has been running around Government offices but all their efforts were in vain. Till date, they have not received any assistance from the Government.

Adarsh Society meant for Kargil war heroes marred by corruption

Important to mention here, the martyred Indian soldier Hemraj Singh's family, which openly criticised previous Congress-led UPA Government for making tall promises but doing nothing.
The family said both the State and Central Government made a number of promises but failed to fulfill them.

Similarly, Sarala Devi, the widow of Ramakant Choudhary, a Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel who died fighting with Maoists, is proud of her husband's sacrifice for the society but at the same time expressed bitterness towards Government's apathy. She said the promised made to her had never been fulfilled till now.

What are the reasons responsible for families not receiving grants?

A number of reasons are responsible for the war heroes families not receiving the grants or assistance promised by the Government. Though, Government's lackadaisical attitude is the main reason behind this, but many times, the grant released by the Government does not reach the beneficiaries. The Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society, which was primarily meant to accommodate Kargil war heroes and their relatives, lost its original flavour, with politicians and bureaucrats dominating the final list of occupants.

While, hearing the case of Indira, Bombay High Court bench was surprised over Government's approach on the matter. It in fact said, "What is going on? Her (Indira's) husband lost his life in the 1965 war."

Tragically, we remember our armed forces only during a war and at other times, they are ignored not only by the politicians but also by us. We should pay some respect and gratitude to the families who lost their beloved one's while serving the nation.

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