Too much water has flown in river Sutlej since Pathankot terrorist attack took place in 2016. Families of two brave men of Indian Armed Forces who laid down their lives while defending the country. They are still waiting for the promises made to them by the Centre and Punjab Government .
Gurdaspur’s Qadian assembly seat, where homes of two bravehearts Captain Fateh Singh and Havaldar Kulwant Singh are situated, bear the testimony to administrative neglect.
One has to travel of almost 30 kms to reach Chak Sharif, the village of Kulwant Singh. The approach road to his home is still in bad shape. It’s full of potholes and bump.
The 500 meter approach road to his home from the Gurudwara in Chak Sharif village is still a brick soled road despite big promises that were made to family of constructing a proper asphalt road.
Speaking to The New Indian, Kulwant Singh’s wife Harbhajan Kaur showed her husband’s photographs and letter from then Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said, “The government has not fulfilled any promise that they made to us. They had promised to make road to our home in the village, promised to give either a gas agency or petrol pump but all assurances have remained unfulfilled till date. We lost the jewel of our family. What pains me is the promises made to us, haven’t been fulfilled,” she said with anguish written all over her face.
She also said that the government had also promised a job to my children, “But even after 6 years our son is yet to get the job”.
She even complained that the government had promised to build a memorial gate at the entrance of the village but that too has not been constructed yet. “All the tall talks have remained on papers only, ” she rued.
When asked who all had visited her home after her husband was killed in action in 2016, she said, “Arvind Kejriwal, Parkash Singh Badal (then Chief Minister Punjab), then Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar, and former MP Vinod Khanna also came to us to offer condolences”.
It is pertinent to mention that Badal had promised to construct road, memorial gate and providing a job to one family member of the family in 2016.
Kulwant Singh’s elder son Satwinder Singh, who was 18 year old at the time of death of his father is now 24 years old.
His wait for government job is getting longer with every passing day.
He said, “It was Parkash Singh Badal who was Chief Minister of Punjan. He himself promised to build a road and a memorial gate in our village and till date it remains as it was before 2016 .”
He took us to the Gurdwara, just 500 meters from home. “We were promised that proper asphalt road will constructed. This too remains a mere lip service till this day”, Satwinder said.
He said then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, Captain Amarinder Singh, Vinod Khana and several other prominent leaders visited his house. “But till nothing has happened,” he said.
Commenting on the job promise made by the state government, he said, “Till date I have not got it. Whenever I tried approaching the authorities, they said it was under consideration but nothing concrete has taken place”.
He also said that his brother Gulshanpreet Singh is studying in plus 2 and has turned 17 year old.
When asked, if he felt disheartened over the government apathy, “Governments made promises to martyr families but never fulfilled that. We want to convey to government that don’t make promises if you cannot deliver”, he said.
When asked as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus on army families across the country and the way promises remaining unfulfilled he said, “If focus is of that extent, the promises should have been fulfilled by now.”
Meanwhile, Kulwant Singh’s younger brother Hardeep Singh also lamented that the government hasn’t accorded proper respect to the families of martyrs.
He said, “I want to thank you for coming here to talk to us and to highlight the problems the family is facing. The government has promised to either sanctions a petrol pump/ gas agency, to provide job and to construct the road. But till date it has remained on papers. Not even a gate in the name of the martyr has been contructed here. We would be grateful to the government if they fulfill their promises.”
Slamming the government, he said, “It feels bad that a soldier laid his life for the country, only to be cold shouldered like this. It is duty of the government to keep focus on the families of martyrs and take care of them and give them facilities they deserve and we believe that the government will not neglect us.”
“The government must accept that my brother fought for the country and made the supreme sacrifice. If government will not look at us then who will ,” he added.
We moved toward the village of Captain Fateh Singh called Chand Gujara that also falls in Qadian assembly constituency. The main road leading to this village is well maintained but the approach road to his village still remains a muddy road.
Captain Fateh Singh had lost his life in 2016 Pathankot terror attack. At the entrance of the village it is hard to find his home, but after enquiring from the villagers they directed us to his home.
His home can be easily recognised as it has the photograph of Fateh Singh engraved on marble platform at the top of the gate of the two storey house.
Soon after entering his house, we find a room where his wife Shobha Thakur has properly arranged all the belongings of Captajn Fateh Singh.
The Indian National flag is kept in the background of his belongings like caps, his medals, his shooting attire, his shoes and several other trophies. On the walls of the room hangs several letter of appreciation from the President of India and Indian Army Chief.
Shobha told The New Indian, “My elder daughter got the government job but the family is still waiting for the government to fulfill the promise of constructing a proper road to village and a memorial gate built in memory of his services to the nation.”
When asked how it feels when looking at promises not fulfilled, she said, “If they feel that neglecting martyr family is good then it is ok.What we can say more?”
She also said that “We face a lot of problems, war widows have to face a lot of problem in village”. “As people think they should create trouble to the single parent. But we have to deal patiently that is our only strength”.
When asked about number of medals in her house, she said, “He had won 4 gold and 6 silver medal for India and I have properly arranged his shooting suit which he had purchased from South Korea. I keep them properly as these are the only memories of him with us”, she said with tears welling in her eyes.
“I made a gate at the entrance of her residence with his picture so that “my children remember what his father did for the country”, she said.
When asked what his two sons are doing, she said, “One of my son is in second year in graduation while another son is in Army.”
When asked if she fears of sending her son in Army, she quipped and said, “I don’t fear that my child is in army. I am proud of it. We will always remain a soldier’s family.”
She also shared that during the Pathankot terror attack day, she along with her husband and children were at the airbase camp.
“I didn’t come to our mind that such a thing will happen to him as he was on duty that night,” she said recalling Captain Fateh Singh’s death.
It is worth to mention that Captain Fateh Singh had won gold medal for India in Commonwealth games.
Meanwhile, The New Indian also caught up with Congress Qadian assembly seat candidate Pratap Singh Bajwa, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, on the promises of the state governments till date not fulfilled, he said, “I am not sure which particular family you are talking about.”
Bajwa said, “All these families were promised moon by the central government as these martyrs are from either Indian Army or paramilitary forces. If the state government has made any promise, I will take care of all of these issue that concern the families of our national heroes.”
At least six security personnel and six Pakistani terrorists were killed in Pathankot terror attack. India has accused terrorists belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a Pakistan-based anti-India terror group, responsible for the attack. The United Jihad Council (UJC), a coalition of terrorist groups against Indian rule in Kashmir had then claimed responsibility for the attack as well.
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