A delegation of widows accompanied by some of us (total 12 members) called on the Defence Minister in his office on 14 Nov 2011. This meeting was at the behest of Mrs Sonia Gandhi: a delegation of 200 widows was to meet her Nov 12, but as she is still not fit enough for such commitments, she had advised the Defence Minister to meet their representatives. The meeting aimed at seeking removal of discrimination against the widows and implementing a hike in their pension as was done in case of JCOs and OR following recommendations of the Cabinet Secretary’s Committee.
It was a good, unhurried meeting where the widows had their full say. The Minister sounded very sympathetic and promised to have a meeting of the concerned officials of his Ministry to resolve the issue of widows’ pension. A memorandum was then handed over to the Minster. It ended by saying that in case there was no positive response from the government by end of December 2011, the widows would revive their plans to meet with Ms Sonia Gandhi.
Subedar Major and Hony Captain Hari Singh of 3 GRENADIERS was a hero of the battle of Basantar in 1971 war. He had commanded a platoon in ‘C’ Coy under Major Hoshiar Singh, PVC, had lost a leg and was awarded Sena Medal. (Also had been Commended twice by the COAS). Hari Singh expired on 15 November 2010 and on his first death anniversary, they have installed a statue in his native village Salhawas in Jhajjar District. They had given the honour of unveiling the statue to Chairman IESM. Kameshwar Pandey had accompanied. On the occasion some 250 ESM had gathered from nearby areas and it was a good interaction.
Notably, the politicians were earlier unveiling such memorial statues of our heroes. After the recent awakening among the ESM to assert their rights, the veterans have now started doing this honour.
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
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