THREE WEEKS after Havaldar Kashmir Singh’s widow returned the Sena Medal given to her husband posthumously, widow of Subedar Teja Singh did the same too. Both had been martyred in Sri Lanka and were part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) under Operation Pawan. Teja was killed in September 1989 and on January 26, 1990, he was awarded the Sena Medal posthumously.
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His widow Surinder Kaur returned the medal to ADC, Ludhiana, Rishipal Singh, to be sent to the President of India. She came from Mehmasur village of Ludhiana along with members of Universal Human Rights Organisation.
“We had been promised 10 acres of land, a gas agency or a petrol pump by the then PM Rajiv Gandhi. A job for a family member was also promised. But nothing has been given to us though we ran from pillar to post,” said Kaur.
On October 17, widow of Kashmir Singh had returned the medal. She had come from Gurdaspur ahead of PM Modi’s Ludhiana visit.
UHRO chairman Satnam Singh Dhaliwal said Surinder Kaur had been called by the Gurdaspur DC afterwards and told that there was no policy for IPKF martyrs till date and hence no benefit could be given to their families.
But, widows are returning medals to make them heard by the Union government. Kashmir was killed in 1987 when IPKF had just arrived in Jaffna and Teja in September 1989.
The latter was 45 years old when he died and all his three kids were minors then.
His widow said, “I didn’t take a job at that time and now, none of my kids has been given job.” One of her sons is in Canada while another is a daily wager and a daughter has just completed graduation.
Both the Singhs were from 13 Sikh Light Infantry. Dhaliwal said both the martyrs were Scheduled Castes and hence the SC/ST Commission should intervene to provide them justice.