July 26 was celebrated as Kargil Victory Day (Kargil Vijay Diwas) with great fervour across Maharashtra and entire India. It was the 20th anniversary of the historic victory over Pakistani forces in the 1999 Kargil War. In order to inspire over 2,25,000 college and high school students across Maharashtra, a special show of the film, ‘Uri – The Surgical Strike‘ was screened free in around 497 cinema halls and multiplexes at 10 am in 36 districts in the state. The valour and sacrifices of the Indian armed forces during the Kargil War must have inspired them. At the same time, even after 20 years, family members of many Kargil martyrs are still waiting for the fulfillment of promises made by the different state governments.
Kargil War started on May 3, 1999, and continued till July 26, 1999. As per data of the government, during Kargil War, 527 officers and jawans were killed and 1,363 others wounded. Independent figures are much higher than this. After the Kargil war, the governments of various states made tall promises to the family members of martyrs which still remained incomplete. Some state government had announced to give a grant of Rs 10 lakhs, reasonable pension to martyr’s wife per month, Rs 5000, pension per month for the parents, scholarship and free education up to graduation for children of martyrs, the release of the green card to the martyr’s wife and parents, etc. Unfortunately, some of the promises made to the family members of martyrs are unfulfilled and incomplete so far.
Retired Wing Commander ShashiKant Oak told Afternoon Voice, “As per my knowledge, there is no such case of unfulfilled promises to the family members of Kargil martyrs in Maharashtra. I advise martyrs’ kin to pursue their case through military and Zila Sainik board. Political leaders and their promises are not reliable. At the same time, the state government has its own rules. They may have obliged their favourites.”
On the one hand, social media is abuzz of messages of salute to Kargil Martyrs. President of India @rashtrapatibhvn tweeted, “On #KargilVijayDiwas, paid tributes to our martyrs at Chinar Corps (15 Corps) War Memorial in Srinagar. India remains grateful to those in our Armed Forces who served in the Kargil conflict and defended our sovereignty with incredible valour.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh @rajnathsingh tweeted, “Paid homage to martyred soldiers at the National War Memorial in New Delhi on the occasion of 20th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas. Their unwavering courage and supreme sacrifice ensured the safety and sanctity of our borders.”
Rahul Gandhi @RahulGandhi tweeted, “On #KargilVijayDiwas I pay tribute to our martyrs who laid down their lives protecting our nation, 20 years ago, in Kargil. I also salute our brave men and women in uniform whose innumerable sacrifices, dedication & valour keep our country safe.”
On #KargilVijayDiwas I pay tribute to our martyrs who laid down their lives protecting our nation, 20 years ago, in Kargil. I also salute our brave men and women in uniform whose innumerable sacrifices, dedication & valour keep our country safe.
Jai Hind 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/1a2zPEj26O
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 26, 2019
Capt. Amarinder Singh @capt_amarinder tweeted, “Paid homage to the martyred soldiers of the Kargil War at the War Memorial in Chandigarh as we mark the 20th anniversary of #KargilVijayDiwas. I salute our Bravehearts, who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the sanctity of our nation.”
Virat Kohli @imVkohli tweeted, “We will never forget all the sacrifices you made for us. Respect, Love, Salute. #JaiHind #KargilVijayDiwas.”
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) July 26, 2019
ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY @adgpi tweeted, “26 July immortalized as #KargilVijayDiwas is saga of glorious victory of the Nation during Kargil Conflict in May-July 1999. #IndianArmy soldiers fought legendary battles in Dras, Kaksar, Batalik & Turtok Sectors. #Salute to courage, valour & sacrifice of our martyrs & heroes.”
Akshay Kumar @akshaykumar tweeted, “I’m not much into books, but today as we pay tribute to our brave martyrs on 20yrs of #KargilVijayDiwas, I’ve picked up #IndiasMostFearless 2 by @ShivAroor & @rahulsinghx . May we never forget our soldiers whose courage and heroism lets us live in peace, day after day.”
I’m not much into books, but today as we pay tribute to our brave martyrs on 20yrs of #KargilVijayDiwas, I’ve picked up #IndiasMostFearless 2 by @ShivAroor & @rahulsinghx . May we never forget our soldiers whose courage and heroism lets us live in peace, day after day. pic.twitter.com/gI6s20MwBX
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) July 26, 2019
On the other hand, there is anger and dissatisfaction among family members of Kargil martyrs who are still waiting for fulfillment of promises made to them by the army, the Centre and state governments. As per reports, the family members of Kargil martyr signalman Naresh Kumar of 24 RR (Signals) regiment, a resident of Pathreri village in Ambala district of Haryana, are still waiting for the fulfillment of promises made by the then Haryana government, which had announced to grant a gas agency or a petrol pump, a government job to kin. Promises were also made for changing the name of a village government school on the martyr’s name. According to his mother Kamla Devi (68), the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) is yet to fulfill the announcements made to the kin of Kargil martyrs. There are many more cases like this across the country which should be redressed at the earliest.
Satbir Singh of the Rajputana Rifles fought in the Kargil war with 24 other soldiers in his regiment. On June 12, 1999, he was shot during the course of the war and suffered grave injuries. He was immediately hospitalised and remained there for around a year before he was discharged in May 2000. His injuries had still not healed completely. This propelled him to take an early retirement from the Army and find an alternative livelihood. He was promised compensation after retirement, but never received it. Singh was promised one acre of land and a petrol pump. However, due to his inability to carry out proper paperwork on time and other complexities, he was never given his due.
By Vijay Panchal