A survey conducted on widows and parents of martyred Armymen draws attention towards the need for skill training, especially for widows in rural settings, and has recommended the formation of a Veer Nari Niketan and skill training centre in Satara.
The study, by Anuradha Gore, has been submitted to the Maharashtra State Commission for Women. Gore, who lost her only son Captain Vinayak Vishnu Gore in 1995 in Kupwara (J&K) during Operation Rakshak, has authored 16 books on the Army. In her latest research study from Satara, Pune, Kolhapur and Mumbai in Maharashtra and several other states, over 150 families were surveyed.
The research recommends providing counselling services to widows and parents of martyred Armymen, a facility not provided by the Zila Sainik welfare office.
“The Sainik welfare office looks after most of our needs. It provides medical and financial support, but has its limitations. Several young women are in need of psychological support that is lacking,” Gore told The Indian Express.
Satara and Kolhapur contribute the maximum number of recruits to the Army from Maharashtra. The research finds that while families of martyred Armymen are compensated and provided a stable pension, in cases of death due to other reasons, the compensation provided is low.
Four Army personnel from Satara went missing. The study finds that until they are declared dead, the family could not receive due compensation or monthly pension. In another case, Major Prasad Mahadik died near the Indo-China border in Tawang district in 2017 after his tent caught fire. Mahadik succumbed to burns. The research found that his wife Gauri, a Virar resident, received lower compensation because he did not die in combat.
“Families of Army personnel want honour and respect. In rural areas, several women said stone pelting (in J&K) was a disgrace. Soldiers risk their lives for people. They wanted government to bring a legislation to curb this,” Gore said.
Vijaya Rahatkar, chairperson of the women’s commission, said the research showed that the government looked after financial requirements of families following an Armyman’s death but lacked in other aspects. “We found that widows require some kind of skill training and social support. We are considering to regularly send counsellor and psychiatrist to Sainik kalyan mandal.” The women commission is set to institute a committee to consider the recommendations of the research. “There are recommendations for the central government too. I have written to the Union defence minister for a meeting to discuss the same.”