This soldier fought in World War II against Germany and Japan but failed to put up a fight against Hindu fundamentalists. Threatened by Hindus to change his religion, Joginder Singh was forced to leave his house in Kalinga area of Kandhamal district.
Singh, 89, too has shifted to a relief centre located at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) building in Bhubaneswar.
Hindustan Times had recently reported about a serving soldier, Motilal Pradhan, who too shifted to a relief camp following threats.
Singh, originally from Amritsar in Punjab, has been living in Kalinga area of Kandhamal district, 40 km from Phulbani, for the last 43 years now. For the last 17 days,
Singh has been staying in the relief centre following the threats.
“In 1939, I joined the fighter squadron of the Royal Air Force. England was our base and I went on missions over Germany with the bombers. I was with the fighter squadron, which was flanking the bombers. Bombers are unarmed and have got no defence. We were protecting the bombers,” said Singh.
Singh was baptised in Lahore at the age of 19 and he then moved to Madras where his father was a civil surgeon.
After the war, Singh returned to India in 1945 and started working in the Exploratory Tubewells Organisation as a mechanical drilling engineer. In 1953, he came on deputation to the Orissa government as a drilling engineer. In 1965, he was posted in Kandhamal and his first assignment was to explore water supply to the D.A.V. School in Kalinga.
Recalling his stay for 43 years in Kandhamal, Singh said: “When I moved in, the district was called Phulbani and the area was very peaceful. There were no divisions among people on the basis of caste and religion. I blame politics entirely for the sudden turn of events. It's because of politics that innocent persons have lost their lives.”
There was no attack on Singh’s house till he decided to come to Bhubaneswar, but he was threatened to change his religion.
“I don't know what happened to my house after I left Kalinga. But I thought it fit to come here after getting threats to change religion”.
About his future, Singh said, “My Lord has all along with me. My future is in my Lord's hands”.