In hope for jus­tice, Army wid­ows meet the Chief

HT Ludhiana Live - - Front Page - An­shu Seth an­shu. seth@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

For­lorn eyes of 92year- old Pree­tam Kaur that have light to see noth­ing more than shad­ows are wait­ing for jus­tice for the past six decades.

Hav­ing lost her hus­band Ar­jun Singh, an army per­son­nel in the Sec­ond World War in 1942, Pree­tam Kaur had no idea as to how would she bring up her six chil­dren.

“It was an end­less strug­gle for me as I had to un­dergo a lot of suf­fer­ing to set­tle and marry my chil­dren with a sin­gle pen­sion. How­ever, what hurts me the most is the ap­a­thy of the gov­ern­ment to­wards its sol­diers who lay down their lives for the na­tion," sobs Pree­tam Kaur.

Un­able to walk straight but de­ter­mined to fight for her right, Pree­tam Kaur reached the venue of the rally or­gan­ised by the exser­vice­men league, Pun­jab and

LUD­HI­ANA:

Chandi­garh, on Sun­day.

Gur­dev Kaur of Tehar vil­lage was an­other widow who had lost her hus­band 25 years ago and is liv­ing on a mea­gre pen­sion of Rs 4,000 with her 20year-old grand­son.

" My daugh­ter- in- law died when my grand­son was just two. My son aban­doned both of us to re­marry. Ever since, ev­ery day has been a chal­lenge for me," rued 80-year-old Gur­dev Kaur. "I want that the In­dian army should ac­knowl­edge my hus­band's sac­ri­fice and give job to my grand­son," de­manded Gur­dev Kaur.

The duo were a part of the crowd of dozens of wid­ows of de­fense per­son­nel who are hop- ing against hope that the gov­ern­ment af­ter ac­knowl­edg­ing the "sac­ri­fice" of their hus­bands will give them their due rights in terms of re­spectable pen­sion.

Point­ing to­wards the gov­ern­ment ap­a­thy, league pres­i­dent Col Bhag Singh fur­ther said they were a ne­glected lot in the eyes of the In­dian gov­ern­ment, but the league was af­fil­i­ated to the de­fense per­son­nel in 53 coun­tries in the world. “The de­fense per­son­nel from across the world are con­tribut­ing Rs 2.5 crore an­nu­ally to the league which were utilised in of­fi­cial and so­cial causes," Col Bhag Singh added.

An­other ex-serviceman from Jalandhar said the pen­sion of the Dar­shan Singh is an­other exser­vice­man who has man­aged to bring up his three chil­dren in sin­gle pen­sion, but is wor­ried for his 26-year-old dis­abled daugh­ter Sukhdeep Kaur. Car­ry­ing her to the rally venue, Dar­shan Singh re­quested the Chief of Army Staff, Gen­eral VK Singh, to look into the mat­ter. "My po­lior­id­den daugh­ter is un­able to walk, thus I want that she should be­come the ben­e­fi­ciary of life­long dis­abil­ity pen­sion," said Dar­shan Singh. wives of the de­fense per­son­nel should be more than the salary as their hus­bands sac­ri­fice their lives for the na­tion. “In­stead of hon­our­ing them, the gov­ern­ment leaves them at the mercy of fate as a re­sult they sus­tain their liv­ing work­ing as do­mes­tic helps,” said the ex-serviceman.

GAU­RAV BA­JAJ/HT

GAU­RAV BA­JAJ/HT

Wives of mar­tyrs dur­ing the ex-ser­vice­men’s rally.

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