Gallantry award winners’ families in Punjab lose hope of getting jobs
The notification on the ‘Honour and Gratitude’ policy issued after the Kargil War in 1999 only mentions providing jobs to the families of those winning wartime gallantry awards Paramvir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Vir Chakra.punjab Updated: May 25, 2017 09:22 IST
The irony couldn’t be bigger than this. When the Punjab government is trying to tweak rules to recruit late chief minister Beant Singh’s grandson as a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), the families of six armymen awarded gallantry awards posthumously for fighting terrorists in Kashmir have not got jobs for over 20 years.
Whereas in the case of Beant’s grandson Guriqbal Singh ‘Honey’, the government is set to get the Cabinet nod to relax rules, the families of the soldiers, awarded with prestigious Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra, have not got their due as the government notification does not mention peacetime gallantry awards.
POLICY MENTIONS WARTIME GALLANTRY AWARDS ONLY
The notification on the ‘Honour and Gratitude’ policy issued after the Kargil War in 1999 only mentions providing jobs to the families of those winning wartime gallantry awards Paramvir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Vir Chakra.
The peacetime gallantry awards Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra find no mention in it. The notification mentions that the family of a “war hero who lays down his life in war or peacetime after 1999” will be given a job by the state government.
In June 2000, the notification was amended to accommodate the families of soldiers who laid down their lives in wars and
operations before January 1, 1999, for jobs.
Even families of soldiers who had received gallantry awards in the 1971 war, were given jobs after 30 years. But again, peacetime gallantry awards did not find any mention in it.
- Lance Naik Jagjit Singh of from Fatehgarh Sahib: Kirti Chakra (1994)
- Naik Dhyan Singh of Gurdaspur: Shaurya Chakra (1992)
- Naib Subedar Baldev Raj of Pathankot: Kirti Chakra (1994)
- Major HPS Sandhu of Jalandhar: Shaurya Chakra (1994)
- Lt Joga Singh of Jalandhar: Shaurya Chakra (2000)
DIRECTORATE WROTE FOR AMENDMENT
After the chief minister’s office (CMO) and other departments received repeated representations requesting amendments in the rules, the Punjab directorate of defence services welfare in August 2013 wrote to the secretary of the same department about amending rules.
The directorate clarified that the peacetime gallantry awards were not less than wartime awards and hence the former should also included in the list.
In October 2014, the secretary took up the matter with the state personnel department which rejected the plea.
EX-ARMY CHIEF DEMANDED PARITY
An RTI information procured by a family about the reason for rejecting the recommendations of the secretary defence services, the personnel department said “it was wrong to compare peacetime gallantry awards with wartime gallantry awards”.
The reply was received when former chief of army staff General VP Malik, through a letter to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, advocated jobs for these families.
“In Army, we recognise Ashok Chakra equivalent to Param Vir Chakra and Sharya Chakra equal to Vir Chakra. Punjab should give grants to both categories accordingly. The army makes no difference between the gallantry awards for war and peacetime. Your June 2000 amendments require clarification,” Malik’s letter read.
Gulshan Singh, only son of Shaurya Chakra winner late Lt Joga Singh, who got the award posthumously in 2000, said, “It was disheartening to see how we were treated by government departments. We tried to meet the CM but to no avail.”
The family of Naib Subedar Baldev Raj, who received the award in 1994, also has the same story.
“The government is differentiating between types of gallantry. The son of a superintendent of police (SP)-rank officer, who was killed in Gurdaspur terror attack, was given the job of a DSP.
Recently, chief minister Amarinder announced the job of naibtehsildar and an ASI for the son and daughter of an army jawan from Tarn Taran who was beheaded in Poonch. Why discriminate with us?” asked Baldev’s wife.