Five decades after her husband died in the 1962 India-China war, Harvinder Kaur (74) has neither got the land promised by the government nor any monetary compensation.
Ajit Singh, a soldier with the Sikh regiment, had died fighting the Chinese in Ladakh. Harvinder, a resident of Jandu Singha village in Jalandhar district, told HT that after the war, the Indian government had announced 25 bighas of agricultural land for her in Rajasthan. She received a letter from the Rajasthan government, informing her to visit Bikaner district for the purpose.
"Accompanied by my relatives, I visited Bikaner. I chose a piece of land, but the patwari concerned told me that it had already been allotted to another person," Harvinder recalled.
She was then asked to go to Suratgarh district, where she got a similar response. Harvinder said she visited Rajasthan eight times in five years, but failed to get possession of the land announced for her. Disheartened by the harassment, she stopped going to the desert state.
Since 1968, she has been visiting the district sainik welfare office here and submitting representations for land allotment or monetary compensation, but to no avail. Every time, she was told that her case had been forwarded to the higher authorities for further action.
About three months ago, she again submitted a representation to the welfare office to give her monetary compensation in lieu of land.
Shibbo (80) of Mehru village, about 25 km from here, also lost her husband, Fakir Chand, in the 1962 war. The government had announced 25 bighas for her in Rajasthan, but she, too, has got nothing so far.
When contacted, AS Chahal, deputy director, district sainik welfare office, said they had received a communication from the Chandigarh-based directorate of defence welfare services, Punjab, a few months ago to make a fresh list of cases for providing monetary aid to war widows in lieu of land. He said these cases would be sent to the directorate which, in turn, would forward these to the Punjab government.