As India Friday commemorated 20 years of its victory in the Kargil War, families of several fallen heroes who made the supreme sacrifice in recapturing several mountain heights seized by Pakistani intruders in Kashmir, said they are still looking for a closure.
The kin of several martyrs claimed that promises made to them two decades ago by the government were yet to be fulfilled. For them, the ‘Kargil War’ is as live today as it was 20 years ago.
“It was on July 17, 1999 when I got the news about his martyrdom. It was devastating for me. Our children were very young, with the eldest son being only 10 years old,” said Soma Devi, widow of Havildar Baldev Raj of 7 Dogra Regimenty.
The resident of Binewal village under Garhshankar Sub division of Hoshiarpur district, said, “Kargil is discussed every day at our home. For us, the war is still going on”.
The 50-year-old claimed that they have got nothing – neither the government job for a member of the family, nor any gas agency, petrol pump or land as promised by the government at that time.
Baldev Raj’s eldest son Dharam Singh, now a 30-year-old man, is a small farmer – the family owns 4 acres. “When my father attained martyrdom, we were kids. My mother and grand father are not educated so they could neither do any job nor could look after gas agency. Now, the government can fulfill its promise as my younger brother and I are unemployed and earning our living from small land holding,” he said.
Another of his brothers has joined the army.
Rajwinder Kaur of Goraya village in Hoshiarpur said that her only son was born six months after the death of his father Nk Rajinder Singh of 2 Sikh Light Infantry on June 5 in Kargil. She claimed that they were promised a gas agency and a plot but nothing was given to them by the government till date. Also there was no one in the family to opt for government job at that time, she said.
Jaswant Singh, 50, of Bhamboar village in Mukerian, brother of Pawan Kumar of 14 JAK Rifles, said his brother was just 22 years old when he made the supreme sacrifice. He was posted at Pathankot when their unit was called to Kargil. “He was reported missing on June 5 and then after one and half month we got his body on July 15,” Jaswant said, adding that after his death then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal visited their place and had promised job to him but even after passing of two decades, the promise was yet to be fulfilled. “We were not given any plot as announced by government and after lot of struggle we could manage to get the petrol pump in 2003,” said Jaswant, adding that several agents then managed to get the plots, which were allotted in posh localities, from the innocent “kin of martyrs at throwaway prices and later made millions from these properties”.
Satnam Kuar, wife of NK Balwinder Singh of 3Fd Regt, has been working as Class-IV employee in a government school. She said that her children were too young in 1999 to be granted a job. “One of my sons has joined army and other is still in search of job,” she said, adding that government had announced gas agency for them then, but she could not run it then. She said government should consider granting the gas agency to her son now.
Rekha Rani, Senior assistant Rural department, and sister of Rajesh Kumar of 16 Dogra, of Repur village in Hoshiarpur, rued that martyrs were remembered on Kargil Day only. She claimed no one from government come to meet the family on the day her brother made the supreme sacrifice. She said they are five sisters and Rajesh was their only brother. Now Rekha Rani looks after her parents. She said that government has not given any plot, gas agency or petrol pump to them as was announced in 1999.
Pushpa Devi, wife of Havildar Karam Singh, of village Chhana in Mukerian, said that government had given a gas agency and government job to her family after the death of her husband.
Meanwhile, ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas ‘ was organised at Kharga Corps, Vajra Corps and Rising Star Corps of Western Command at various places including Jalandhar as per the press release issued by the Defence PRO. On this momentous occasion, the Vajra Corps is celebrating this victory in memory of Indian Army brave martyrs with events covering a myriad spectrum with the theme ‘Remember, Rejoice and Renew’.