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Saturday, August 14, 1999
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Welfare of Kargil heroes’ families

OPERATION Vijay in Kargil was the first operation in the country which received a lot of attention of the media, especially private TV channels, which wanted to outdo each other, by showing the latest clips of the battle and interviews with the troops from different fronts. Magazines and newspapers were not to be left behind. They also regularly carried pictures of action covering every theatre of operation with writeups in detail. Suddenly patriotic songs, speeches, appeals were also heard and seen in large number. All this media hype whipped up the passions of the masses and created euphoria amongst classes.

People showed their concern by donating generously. It seemed that every individual, institute, corporation, corporate house, trader, business house etc. donated to PM’s Relief Fund, Army Welfare Fund, Jai Jawan Fund or in any of the many such funds already existing or recently instituted. The aim of all donors was that this money should be used for the welfare of the families of the deceased or incapacitated jawans. Unfortunately, is not so.

The money collected in PM’s Relief Fund is spent for earthquake, floods or any other calamity’s victims besides being spent for army jawans’ welfare. Political considerations may also be kept in mind while granting relief to the victims of any state, the victims of similar calamity may get more or less amount of relief in some other state. Similarly in army there are different heads of various relief funds and all the funds collected are not directly spent on jawans. In a nutshell only a small fraction of all this money will reach where it is intended to be sent by the donors.

Illiterate or semi-literate widows of jawans living in the countryside do not know about the various grants or awards announced by Centre and State Governments. Secondly they do not know how to claim these grants etc.

The corrupt elements at every level in the government try their best to delay the compensation or grant till they get their pound of flesh, thereby aggravating the problems of the destitute.

Even after the grant or money is actually received by the widows, most of them do not know where and how to invest it so that it can meet the needs of the whole life at time likes education of the children, their marriage, recurring expenses, old age etc. (Many cases of the families of our heroes of previous wars now living in sub-human conditions are highlighted from time to time. Many more do not come to light.)

In some cases even the greedy relatives of widows try to grab whatever they can (out of the compensation) in the garb of helping them.

To overcome all the above problems and to see that the gratitude of benevolent people who have made generous donations, does not go waste it is suggested that the press should procure from Army HQs or elsewhere the names and addresses of the widows along with the age etc of their children and other dependants and publish it (as the names of the donors are being published). The service clubs (Lions, Rotarians etc.) and non government charitable organisations, all over the country, can then help and ensure that:-

The widows (of their respective areas) get the grant or award, announced by the government promptly and that a bank account is got opened for each widow where the money can be deposited.

The individual or other donors of that area may also deposit their donations directly in the widows’ accounts.

Some schools or colleges may offer to provide free education to the children of the widows.

Some corporate house may provide job to widows or their children.

Some company can provide scooter, moped, cycle etc to the widows or their children.

Donations can be made as per the needs of the families.

Some young men may come forward even to marry the widows.

The charitable organisations and corporate houses etc may even adopt a few families (to look after their needs).

It will also ensure:

Immediate relief to the families (government grants etc take a lot of time to reach the beneficiaries). Donors will get the satisfaction of seeing that their donations have reached the right hands.

Corruption will be eliminated. The families will be taken care of for the whole life.

All this is possible if the names and addresses of the widows are published in the newspapers throughout the country.

Capt G.S. GHUMAN (retd)

* * * *

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Terror campaign

In 1947, Pakistan was carved out of India on the basis of the Two-Nation Theory. The Pakistani claim was to serve as a homeland for the Muslims. But a majority of Muslims opted to stay back in India. Even today, more Muslims live in India than the entire population — Muslim — of Pakistan.

The Pakistani rulers themselves dealt a grave blow to their Two-Nation Theory by perpetrating large-scale massacres and atrocities in their erstwhile province of East Bengal. Islam did not deter the Pakistani junta from severely oppressing their co-religionists. By all accounts the number of East Bengalis killed by Pakistan exceeded the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust.

In 1971 the East Bengalis succeeded in overthrowing the Pakistani yoke and forming Bangladesh.

Today Pakistan wants Kashmir — an Indian state which happens to have a Muslim majority. Pakistan seeks to repeat its failed history by spreading religious terror and mayhem. It has not learnt the lesson that simply religion cannot be the basis for nationhood. By sending ethnic Afghan and Punjabi Muslim terrorists in Indian Kashmir, it has almost completely wiped out the local Hindu population. Even Madeleine Albright has condemned the Pakistani terrorists and their sponsors for the July 19 massacre of 15 Hindus in Kashmir, which was just the latest in the 15 year Pakistani terror campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Kashmir valley of non-Muslims.

Besides targeting the Hindus, the Pakistani Sunni establishment has also terrorised the Shia Muslims of Kashmir. It is clear that Pakistan wants Kashmir, and not the Kashmiri people. In South-East Asia, Kashmir is not the problem; Pakistani terrorism is the problem.

Kashmir is a shining jewel in the multi-ethnic Indian society. NATO went to war in Yugoslavia to preserve the multi-ethnic culture there. It is time to punish those who spread international terrorism in the name of religion, and those who support them.



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