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Families of martyrs feel betrayed in Patiala

india Updated: Sep 22, 2015 22:43 IST
Vivek Gupta
War widow Darshan Kaur with her son Lakhbir Singh in Patiala.
War widow Darshan Kaur with her son Lakhbir Singh in Patiala. (BHARAT BHUSHAN/HT PHOTO)

A city that flaunts several statues and streets named after late politicians has no space for war heroes.

This strong sense of being neglected and ignored was what came through when one met the families of war heroes at Punjabi University on Tuesday. The Women’s Studies Centre at the varsity has started a new project to analyse the economic, social and psychological problems of widows of military personnel and family members.

First of such project, it will deal with the trauma of the families who are left alone after death of their members on boarders and come up with their suggestions both for state and central government.

Lakhbir Singh, who lost his father as well as uncle in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, said that he had submitted several representations to respective state governments as well as local politicians but no one has come forward to propose even naming a village school or a road after his father or uncle, both of whom died for the nation.

“It is said that in a society that flaunts statues of politicians, there is no respect for real heroes,” he added

Another such mother is Gurcharan Kaur who lost her son, Jang Singh, a lance Naik with the Sikh regiment, during the country’s peacekeeping mission in Sri Lanka in 1988. Living in a village near Devigrah, she said that she had given at least four representations to local administration to either name school building or village road but there was no response so far.

‘Job security must be given’

Raj Kaur, resident of Jai Jawan Colony, Patiala, who lost her husband Mohinder Singh during anti-insurgency operation in Kupwara in 1995, said that there should be job security for the children of the war widows and job should be given on the priority basis.

Harjinder Kaur, a resident of Patiala, is the proud wife of Raghbir Singh, who was martyred during an encounter with terrorists in 1992 in Assam. “The sons of martyrs should be given jobs with the government.”

Jaswinder Kaur, who also lost her husband in Kupwara in 1995, said that she was promised jobs for her sons at that time. “No neither the army nor the state government is willing to listen to us, let alone meeting our demands.”

PU hopes to push case

Women’s study centre director Dr Ritu Lehal said, “The project would aim to aim empower widows and work as a bridge between the families and the government. Our study would select 60 female respondents and based on their interviews, we will try to find a common ground. The proceedings would be recorded.”

Brigadier Satish Sharma, who is part of the team that has designed the project and would be responsible for execution, said, “In the army, we usually only deal with families at the physical level like starting their pension or rehabilitating them. This project will also try to understand their emotional trauma,” he said

Statues and roads named after politicians in Patiala

•Beant Singh memorial in Chotti barandari including the market area which has been named after the former chief minister

•Late Sant Ram Singla Marg on

Patiala-Samana road

•Gurcharan Singh Tohra Marg on the Patiala- Sirhind road

•Sewa Singh Thikriwala Chowk named after former minister of royal Patiala regime

•Statue of local politican Sardara Singh Kohli near A-Tank Patiala