The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has written a letter to Union minister of defence Manohar Parrikar seeking “revival of the Chamar regiment in the Indian Army”. This was, as NCSC said, after three veterans from Haryana who were part of the regiment showed up before the commission and requested for its revival.
They are Chunni Lal from Mahendragarh, Jogi Ram from Bhiwani and Dharma Singh from Sonepat — all 95-year-old — and served in the Chamar Regiment from 1943 to 1946.
The Chamar Regiment was officially constituted in 1943 by the Indian British government with Jabalpur as its headquarters. It was, however, disbanded in 1946 “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
The Commission, in its letter to the ministry of defence, had asked for reasons why the Chamar regiment should not be reinstated when regiments formed on the basis of caste, religion continued to exist.
“It is strange that all the other regiments, such as Sikh Regiment, Jat Regiment, Dogra Regiment etc, formed on the basis of caste/religion continue to exist while Chamar Regiment was disbanded,” the letter stated.
The Commission further said that they were informed there was no reservation for the scheduled caste in the Army, due to which Dalit boys were not getting commissioned. “If Chamar Regiment is restored, Dalit boys will also be able to serve the country.”
Commission sought a reply from the ministry of defence within 15 days, asking them to examine all the facts “as the matter related to the deprived members of the society.”