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Naming school after late Major Sood: Haryana education department gets slain officer’s name wrong, kin protest

The letter issued with the instructions, dated August 26, stated the Government Middle School Bhagwanpur should have the name “Shaheed Major Arun Sood” affixed before it.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | September 8, 2020 10:17:56 am
Major Anuj Sood of 21 RR died in the line of duty in an encounter in Handwara on May 2. Archive

A gaffe by the Haryana education department has left the family of late Major Anuj Sood, who was killed in the line of duty battling terrorists in Handwara (J&K)in May, feeling hurt and insulted after the department got the officer’s name wrong while issuing orders for naming a school after him.

A case had been taken up with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Education Minister Kanwar Pal Gujjar by the Amrawati Enclave Residents Welfare Association for naming the Government Middle School, Bhagwanpur, after Major Sood.

Following directions and approval from the higher authorities in the education department, instructions were issued by the elementary education department for naming the school after Major Sood but with the glaring mistake of a wrong name.

The letter issued with the instructions, dated August 26, stated the Government Middle School Bhagwanpur should have the name “Shaheed Major Arun Sood” affixed before it.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Brig C K Sood (retd), father of Major Sood, said that as citizens, the family felt very deeply hurt at the flippant manner in which the education department had dealt with the issue.

“It is all hype on martyrs. No substance. I sent a text message on the personal mobile number of Education Minister Kanwar Pal Gujjar but he did not even bother to reply,” he said.

Brig Sood pointed out that even in the immediate aftermath of his son’s death, the Haryana CM had called to offer condolences. Even he got the name of Major Anuj Sood wrong and referred to him as ‘Anup’ till he was corrected.

When contacted, education department officials said that a letter with correction was being issued after the mistake was brought to their notice.

Major Anuj Sood of 21 RR died in the line of duty in an encounter in Handwara on May 2. The Commanding Officer of the battalion was also killed in the same encounter along with two more jawans of the unit and a police Assistant Sub-Inspector.

Major Sood had been commissioned in 19 Guards in 2012 and had completed his tenure in RR in Jammu and Kashmir. He was to join his parent unit in Punjab but his move was delayed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The president of Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell, Lt Col S S Sohi (retd), criticised the “non-seriousness” with which the officer’s name was treated. “It may be a minor mistake for the babus of the ministry or the department but they cannot imagine the injury that it causes to his compatriots in uniform, the veterans and his family members to see his name being treated in such a cavalier manner,” he said.

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