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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Express Impact: Punjab govt amends archaic re-marriage rules for widows of gallantry award winners

The Indian Express had on June 26 highlighted how Anjini Dada, the wife of a gallantry awardee Major Raman Dada, had been denied annuity for her husband’s Kirti Chakra award by the Punjab government because she had married a person other than her husband’s brother.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
Updated: August 5, 2021 7:09:07 am
Taking prompt cognizance of the matter, the CM immediately directed the Water Resources Dept to undertake the work at Sivia water channel at the earliest (File Photo)

The Punjab government on Wednesday announced that it had amended the archaic rules dictating the grant of annuity to the widows of gallantry award winners and those who had remarried after their husbands being awarded the medals posthumously.

As per the new rules, a legally married spouse of the deceased gallantry award winner will continue to receive the allowance during her lifetime.

The Indian Express had on June 26 highlighted how Anjini Dada, the wife of a gallantry awardee Major Raman Dada, had been denied annuity for her husband’s Kirti Chakra award by the Punjab government because she had married a person other than her husband’s brother.

The outmoded rule, which had been carried forward from the Colonial era, had then come under heavy criticism, with many course mates of the Late Major coming to the defence of Anjini and asking the government to have a relook.

Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, too, had taken note of the report carried by The Indian Express and asked the Department of Sainik Welfare to re-examine the policy and do away with provisions that are not in accordance with the rules of the Indian Army.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Secretary of the Defence Services Welfare, said that as per directions of the Chief Minister, the rules have been amended and a notification in this regard has been issued by the Finance Department. Henceforth, there was no requirement of a widow of a gallantry award winner to remarry her deceased husband’s brother in order to continue receiving allowances from the Punjab government.

Reacting to the development, Anjini Dada, said she was thankful to the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, for having taken up her case. “I cannot thank Captain Amarinder enough for having helped me and many others who may have faced the same problem,” she said.

Officials of the Sainik Welfare Department said that no other similar case, apart from Anjini Dada’s, had come to their notice so far.

Major Raman Dada of 11th Battalion of The Sikh Regiment was killed in May 1999 while fighting militants in Asaam’s Somitpur district. Major Raman killed three militants, one of them in hand-to-hand combat, while his troops killed seven others in the encounter. He succumbed to the injuries sustained in the encounter and was awarded the Kirti Chakra posthumously on August 15, 1999.

His wife’s annuity, which is now at Rs 13,860, was stopped by the Punjab government in 2005 when she re-married.

“We are very thankful to the Punjab government for changing the rules and doing justice to Anjini. We had been fighting for this for long but no one was listening to our pleas,” said Major RS Virk (retd), a coursemate of Major Raman Dada.

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