War veterans triumph against all odds | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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War veterans triumph against all odds

During the Indo-Pak war of 1965, captain Vijay Oberoi was just 25 when he lost his right leg to enemy firing. On Sunday, the 70-year-old completed the 5 km senior citizen’s run with a sense of triumph.

mumbai Updated: Jan 17, 2011 01:04 IST
Aarefa Johari

During the Indo-Pak war of 1965, captain Vijay Oberoi was just 25 when he lost his right leg to enemy firing. On Sunday, the 70-year-old completed the 5 km senior citizen’s run with a sense of triumph.

With an artificial leg strapped on, Oberoi took 50 minutes to walk the distance and cross the finish line.

His team of 10 from the Delhi-based War Wounded Foundation was running to raise awareness for the “forgotten” community of injured war veterans, and the enthusiastic applause they received from audience along the way was proof of their success.

While eight of them ran the Dream Run, Oberoi and his colleague general Ian Cardozo chose the senior citizen’s run. This was the first time the Foundation participated in the Mumbai Marathon.

“Many of us have lost a limb or an eye at a very young age, but people don’t recognise us as martyrs,” said Oberoi, now a retired lieutenant general in Chandigarh. “Even the disability pension we get is peanuts.”

For Ashok Kumar, a cadet in the 1999 Kargil war, being boarded out of the army on medical grounds at 25 meant no service pension at all.

“After my colleagues were killed, I defended my post for 24 hours all alone during an enemy attack,” said Kumar, who was shot at in the stomach and thighs. “The marathon is giving us visibility and has boosted our confidence.”