Family of Late Lt. Col Ravindra Kumar from 38 Assaulters Engineer Regiment is going through a tough phase because of the apathy of government officials. Is this how we wish to pay tribute to the heroes of the nation? His daughter, Anjali Sirohi, talks about the crisis that the family is undergoing in an exclusive interview with Newsd:
Q. Are you getting the financial assistance which the family of a soldier is entitled to?
Yes, we are getting the financial aid we are supposed to. The government has done its work but the government officers and officials are troubling us.
Q. Why was your brother’s application rejected by DU authorities?
We belong to the CW category- Priority 3 where the death of the officer is attributable to military service. So, our pension order clearly shows that we get the special family pension, which is only given to widows/wards of priority 3. However, DU had called an official from Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) who said that our documents must reflect that. Their formalities had become more important than the situation we are facing so my brother’s application was rejected despite having all the documents.
Q. Why was your sister not given admission in MBBS course of DU?
Last year, my sister was denied admission in Faculty of Medical Sciences, DU. They had 12 seats reserved for the CW category in Lady Hardinge College, and ten seats were allotted to people belonging from the CW(Delhi only ) category as per the counselling rules in their prospectus. In the second counselling however, it was on the basis of her merit and priority that she was supposed to get the seat but it was given to some random person whose details were not revealed. The details have been revealed now after the Delhi HC Court judgement from our case; but we have felt cheated by the judiciary too because they did not take any immediate action and eventually my sister had to drop out. And our seat was taken away by people belonging to the influential sections.
Q. Have you tried to contact any relevant authority to highlight the injustice which your family is going through?
Yes, we’ve written letters to the Grievance Cell, the Veterans Cell, PMO, COAS, Defence Ministry, but to no avail.
Q. Do you think the government is doing enough to help families like yours?
As mentioned earlier, the government has done its work but the officials have made it impossible for us to have access to our own rights. My mother is in extreme trauma because of the ongoing case. She is being indirectly asked to prove condition’s of her husband’s death. And the official from KSB, was an ex-defence personnel. Our own people have failed to understand us. Till how long will we keep fighting? For how long will we keep tolerating this humiliation? And no one is held accountable for it. There are others like us who don’t have enough support to speak out about their ordeals. A soldier dies at the border, but his family is left behind who have to face the apathy of officials. This treatment and callous attitude should not be accepted.