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Military Digest | Uphill battle of veterans & kin to get dues continues

The pension imbroglio has shown that if even senior officers are not spared the ignominy of running around for their dues then what may be the case with junior officers and other ranks and their widows/next of kin settled in remote areas.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
May 16, 2022 3:44:38 am
Gen A S Aujla

The official apathy towards veterans and their dependents is nothing new but every now and then there comes welcome news where some veteran or dependent wins the legal battle finally in face of stiff opposition from the civil bureaucracy of MoD or the Army bureaucracy. One such case is that of the wife of an Asian Games Gold Medallist and ex-Havildar of Sikh Regiment who was forced to defend her case in the Supreme Court to get a family pension of Rs 14,000 (plus DA) per month with arrears of ten years.

Beant Kaur, wife of late Havildar Hakam Singh was made to run from court to court for getting her dues with appeals being filed against her in the Supreme Court. Recently, the stoppage of pension of a retired Army Commander hit the headlines and caused great consternation in military circles, but there are thousands of such cases where JCOs, Jawans and their dependents are made to fight legal battles till Supreme Court to get what is their rightful due.

The pension imbroglio has shown that if even senior officers are not spared the ignominy of running around for their dues then what may be the case with junior officers and other ranks and their widows/next of kin settled in remote areas.

Hakam Singh’s case has been a sad one where his family suffered due to many reasons, for which the athlete was himself partly to blame too initially. A Gold Medal winner at the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1978 in the 20 km race walk category. He was also a Dhyan Chand Trophy awardee. A soldier in the 6th Battalion of The Sikh Regiment, he faced a court martial and was dismissed from service without any pension in 1987 after serving for 14 and a half years in the Army.

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The Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell run by a group of veterans and led by Lt Col SS Sohi (retd) came to know about the plight of Hakam Singh and his family and took up a case in Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) for award of disability pension and won the case in Jan 2018. Unfortunately, the former athlete could now enjoy the benefits because an appeal was filed by the MoD against the orders of the AFT and he passed away in August 2018.

After the appeal in the apex court failed, the wife of Havildar Hakam Singh finally got her family pension released this month after an uphill struggle. The veterans of the Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell celebrated the event by distributing sweets at their weekly meeting in Mohali last Friday. Incidentally, the cell, which was allowed to function from the open courtyard of the District Sainik Welfare Office in Mohali in the past, now functions under a tree in the small park opposite the office after being turned out some months back. The veterans of the cell have been doing yeoman’s service to the veterans community and their dependants for getting their dues from the Records Offices and other organisations and function without any government help.

ARTRAC compiles ancient Indian strategic sayings

With a recent impetus from the highest quarters on indigenous strategic thought process and not depend upon western strategic ideas or Chinese ones, the Army has been quick to look at ways and means to implement that agenda. Accordingly, the Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla, has published a compendium of 75 Indian stratagems after researching ancient Indian historical scriptures. As per ARTRAC, “the stratagems edify on the wisdom and rich strategic culture of ancient India.”

It would be pertinent to mention here that ARTRAC came up in 1991 in Mhow and was shifted to Shimla in 1993. It’s role is supposed to be formulation and dissemination of concepts and doctrines of warfare in the field of strategy, operational art, tactics, logistics, training and human resource development.

New Corps Commander in Srinagar raises hopes

There is considerable excitement over the appointment of Lt Gen AS Aujla as the new GOC of 15 Corps in Srinagar. The General officer has commanded an infantry division in the valley and has also commanded a brigade in the same theatre of operations. He has served as a Brigadier in the Infantry Directorate of Army HQs when the present Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, was the DG Infantry. He has also served as a Major General General Staff (MGGS) in Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur. There are high hopes being expressed by many in the Kashmir valley that he would bring about a welcome change in the circumstances prevailing therein.

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