Satara war veteran loses his battle against life
Hindurao Ingale had been fighting for his disability pension and to secure a small piece of land that he was promised by the government
The 74-year-old war veteran from Satara, awaiting justice for the last 48 years, breathed his last on Sunday morning at his home in the Hingnole village of Satara district. Hindurao Ingale had served in the 1971 Indo-Pak war and had been fighting to secure a small piece of land that he was promised by the government for being a war veteran.
Ingale had in June this year moved a contempt of court proceeding at the Bombay High Court against Satara Collector and State Revenue Secretary for not providing him the parcel of land as per government resolution of 1971.
The HC had found Ingale eligible for agricultural land and a plot for construction of a house and had directed the state government to hand it over to him a year ago (February 2018) in its verdict over the writ petition Ingale had filed in April 2015.
“I am unable to walk due to my bullet wound and old age. I find it difficult to visit Mumbai frequently. For reasons best known to the bureaucrats, they are delaying handing over the piece of land to me as directed by the court,” he had told mid-day after filing the contempt of court proceeding.
"When I am being made to run from courts to government offices despite being a war-injured soldier who had fought enemies in the 1971 war, what will the government do for my wife after my demise?" he had questioned.
Hindurao Ingale with his wife and family at his home in Satara. FILE PICS
The last night
Ingale's son Mahesh, 43, told mid-day that his father had expressed his concern over the delay in securing the land before going to sleep on Sunday night. "He was worried about our future as there was no source of income nor any pension coming in. We assured him that everything would be fine before going to sleep at 10 pm," he said, adding, "He woke up around 2 am complaining of pain around his chest and left hand. He was sweating. We applied a pain balm and insisted on taking him to the hospital but he refused saying he was feeling better." An hour later though, Ingale became restless again and was rushed him to a private hospital in Umrej, four kilometres from his home.
After conducting an ECG, the doctors gave him some medicines and advised him to get admitted but Ingale said he was fine.
When the family returned home at 5 am, Ingale asked his wife Mankabai for a cigarette saying, “Please give me this last time, I won’t ask hereafter. He even had some tea and bread before he fell unconscious.”
He was immediately put into a vehicle to reach the hospital but was declared dead before admission.
State failed, says widow
An inconsolable Mankabai, told mid-day, “Two days before his death, he was telling me that he was worried for me. I ignored him, but today when he is no more, and with no source of income and two jobless drunkard sons, I am lonely and clueless.”
“My husband was a soldier who sustained bullet injuries for the country. After four and a half decades of fighting, the Bombay High Court passed an order in our favour but the state machinery ensured that we never got justice."
The family's only source of income is R3,000 it gets as financial aid from Prem Daryanani, a resident of Walkeshwar, who offered help after reading the mid-day report of Ingale's struggle.
Mankabai also said that Ingale would interact with politicians, social workers, and army officials directly. "Neither of us know these people. I do not know how and who will help us now," she said, adding that she only knows advocate Rajeshwar Panchal, who has been fighting the case for free.
'Utter disregard by state'
"It is very disappointing that the state machinery failed to give justice to a soldier who fought for the country and died waiting for his rightful piece of land and disability pension for decades,” said Panchal.
Ingale's case, he said, has exposed the government and the collector of Satara "who have shown utter disregard to the order of High Court."
The court had also imposed R50,000 for delaying the grant of land to the war hero. "It is disheartening to see that the contemnors could display such an indifference to the war hero. I hope that the HC punishes the contemnors under the Contempt of Courts Act and sends a strong message to all," he added.
A hearing in the contempt of court case by the division bench will be held in September 2019.
Ingale's legal heirs will now be entitled to the land. "A special leave petition on seeking disability pension filed by Ingale a few years ago too will come up for hearing soon and his widow will now be entitled to it," Panchal informed.
April 2015 - Ingale filed writ petition
February 2018 - HC directed state to hand over land to Ingale
June 2019 - Ingale filed Contempt of Court
September 2019 - Next hearing in the case
'When I am being made to run from courts to government offices despite being a war-injured soldier who had fought enemies in the 1971 war, what will the government do for my wife after my demise?'
Hindurao Ingale had said in June 2019
'Two days before his death, he was telling me that he was worried for me. I ignored him, but today when he is no more, and with no source of income and two jobless drunkard sons, I am lonely and clueless'
Mankabai Ingale, Hindurao's wife
'My husband was a soldier who sustained bullet injuries for the country. After four and a half decades of fighting, the Bombay High Court passed an order in our favour but the state machinery ensured that we never got justice'
Mankabai Ingale, Hindurao's wife
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
I am an Indian first: ISRO Chief K Sivan's reply to Tamil channel is winning hearts online