mid day editorial: Can we treat our soldiers with respect?

Mar 15, 2018, 06:56 IST | mid-day correspondent

A 98-year-old veteran has been running from pillar to post for 50 years to get possession of land he has fully paid for

A 98-year-old veteran has been running from pillar to post for 50 years to get possession of land he has fully paid for. He asks, in a front page report in this paper, whether every old person should come to Mantralaya to commit suicide in order to get justice. This former Indian army soldier from Satara been struggling for 54 years to get a piece of land from the government that he has already paid for.

Chandrashekar Jangam is the protagonist of this shameful story. He had fought for India in the 1962 war against China and in 1965 against Pakistan. He retired as Subedar in 1971. In 1964, he applied for land in Satara's Raviwar Peth under a Government Resolution that allowed soldiers to buy land from the state. A 15.5-gunta plot was allotted to him, for which he paid Rs 3,547 in full.

He never got the land or his money back. Today, he is bedridden but his son is continuing the fight with the help of a non-profit organisation. It is time for the government to intervene and resolve this as soon as possible. The soldier in question will never enjoy his land, but he must at least get his land or his money back. His family can benefit from it.

It is a matter of great shame that we treat our army veterans in this way. We have numerous stories about our veterans forced to scurry around for pensions or what is rightfully theirs. It makes a mockery of all the glorious labels the government uses for our soldiers. It may also puncture the dreams of several young aspirants who want to join our forces. They may be put off from an armed forces career when they learn about how the nation treats its heroes. The government machinery, the Satara collector, or whoever is responsible, needs to get working and give this brave old soldier his due. At least this report must shame them into it, if nothing else can.

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