Volume 4 Issue 7 - April 01, 2006

Retired disabled Army officers burn their artificial limbs as a mark of protest

D.N.I.S. News Network- Some retired disabled Army officers burnt their artificial limbs in front of Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in the National Capital recently to protest against apathy shown towards them by the Government despite their selfless sacrifice in the line of duty.

The episode proves that disabled people in India face the worst form of discrimination among all the marginalised sections of society.

All these retired officers have been fighting a long and lonely battle for justice. Pitted against the authorities in court rooms, even an intervention from President of India, the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces was of no benefit.

Capt Chanan Singh, one of the protesters, was posted at the Tibet border in 1970 when he lost his right arm following a severe injury in a land-slide incident leaving him with 80 per cent permanent disability. Though he was allowed to serve in the Army till June, 1978 yet his pension was computed till 22 November 1970, the day when the accident took place.

He approached the High Court after which the Army was asked to pay him pension for the entire period of his service. Following this the President of India granted him the enhanced pension. But what followed this is truly shocking.

The Army filed an appeal in the Supreme Court and even before any further directions were issued; it withdrew Rs 3.63 lakh pension arrears sanctioned to the officer after a protracted legal battle that lasted for 27 years.

According to a news report, when the incident was brought up at a reception function for gallantry award winners on the same day, Army chief Gen J. J. Singh said all disability cases were decided as per Government of India rules, adding that in case there was any scope for change, they would be put forth before the Government.

Capt Reet Inder Singh V.R.C. (retd) from Nabha, Capt K.J.S. Bhuttar (retd) from Ambala and Capt Bhagwan Singh Jodha (retd) from Jaipur, also claim to be undergoing similar ordeal and thus decided to symbolically register their protest.

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