Disabled Army officers to protest Govt apathy
A group of former Army officers announced they would burn their gallantry medals at India Gate on Dec 28 to highlight the plight of soldiers.india Updated: Dec 20, 2005 23:27 IST
Peeved at the treatment meted out to them by the Indian Army after they were disabled while in service, a group of former Army officers on Tuesday announced they would burn their gallantry medals at India Gate in New Delhi on December 28.
The retired officers said that despite being disabled while in the service of the country, the Army authorities had chosen to shower apathy on them - even denying them their pension benefits.
The officers, numbering about two dozen, said their protest was meant to highlight the plight of hundreds of soldiers who were fighting legal cases against the Army to get their dues.
They alleged that their fight for pension benefits had been on for the past several years but that they had now run out of patience.
The India Gate in the national capital is a memorial to armed forces personnel killed in battle.
"I will bequeath my pension to my granddaughter as I have no hope that the Army will release it during my lifetime. But I will continue to fight for it," said Capt Reet MP Singh.
He said the Army authorities took 35 years to admit that the loss of an eye in action constituted complete disability.
Singh and other officers said several former soldiers would join them to burn their medals at the Delhi war memorial on December 28.
Former paratrooper Capt CS Sidhu, who lost his left arm in an accident while on duty in a frontier area, was sanctioned a pension of Rs 350 a month when he was discharged from the Army in 1978. He objected to the amount given to him as pension, saying it was not in accordance with service rules.
Despite getting a favourable judgment from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Army has been dilly-dallying in granting him a higher pension, Sidhu said.
Another officer, Capt KJS Buttar, was listed as a low medical category officer after he was injured during training and discharged from the Army in 1979 with a pension of just Rs 224, the officers said.
They also said they had spent thousands of rupees individually in litigation to claim their rightful dues.