Slamming the Badal government for failing to ensure the upkeep of war memorials in the state, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday cleaned the “neglected” statue of Subedar Nand Singh, recipient of Victoria Cross and Mahavir Chakra, at Fauji Chowk here.
Also from the 1st Sikh regiment to which Subedar Nand Singh belonged, Captain described the condition of his statue as “yet another glaring instance of how little the Badals care for our soldiers and their memories”.
Trying to strike an emotional chord with armymen and ex-servicemen, Amarinder said there was no point of setting up memorials and installing statues if the government could not ensure their proper maintenance. Asking the government to hand over these memorials to the army, he said: “Our martyrs deserve no less.”
Captain, in whose book ‘Lest We Forget’ Nand Singh’s story finds detailed mention, recalled how at the age of 33 this “loyal solider of the Indian Army” (by then a jemadar, who was not even required to go into the battle) chose to lead his platoon in a desperate but successful attack to rescue his battalion from an ambush in Uri in Kashmir in December 1947. He was killed in action but his body was never recovered.
“It was later discovered that the Pakistanis recognised Nand Singh because of his decorated VC ribbon and took his body to Muzaffarabad, where, in the most abominable manner, it was tied on a truck and paraded through the city with a loudspeaker proclaiming that this would be the fate of every Indian Victoria Cross recipient,” said Captain Amarinder.
“Unfortunately, the Badal government has never shown much respect to our army or its personnel,” said Captain, referring to the prolonged protest of war widows in Punjab and reiterating his party’s and his personal commitment to address their concerns.