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HP martyr’s family left high and dry

Archana Phull/SNS | Shimla |


When they lost their father, a soldier with paramilitary forces, in a militant attack in Manipur in May 2016, the state tried to wipe their tears with sympathy and promises.

A year later, martyr Subedar Baldev Kumar Sharma’s family from Marura village near Shahtalai in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh has been made to cry, this time for state and centre’s apathy towards promises made to martyrs.

“My father, who was the sole bread earner in family, laid down his life for the nation working for 29 Assam Rifles. The state government was quick to give us solace with words, but hasn’t bothered to do more than that even after one year. They haven’t given me promised job despite so many media announcements at the time of last rites of my father,” Vivek Sharma, 26, son of the martyr told The Statesman. Vivek has done M.Com and is unemployed and his sister, Priyanka, 22, too is doing masters of commerce.  

The family, which includes their mother, is now dependent on the family pension. Five soldiers, including Subedar Baldev Kumar Sharma, were killed when an Assam Rifles convoy was attacked by militants in Joupi Hengshi area of Chandel in Manipur on 22 May 2016.

Social Justice Minister, HP, Dhani Ram Shandil had personally come to martyr’s house then and had assured job to his son, along with Rs five lakh relief to family. There was an announcement to name the Government Senior Secondary School, Shahtalai in the memory of the martyr.

“They haven’t named the school in his name, yet. They have given Rs 1.5 lakh against Rs five lakh so far. But that’s not the issue. Our priority is job. I have been running from pillar to post for the promised job, but in vain. I even met the chief minister, who just gave me assurance,” said Vivek.

He said he was shocked to know from a letter by office of Sainik Welfare, Bilaspur that there was no provision of providing employment to dependants of para military personnel in HP government. “How can there be such discrimination with para military forces vis a vis military?,” asked Vivek.

The martyr’s family was upset with step motherly treatment meted out to them by the centre too.

Vivek said when he urged the Ministry of Home Affairs for job on compassionate ground; it asked him to  appear in recruitments in Shillong.

“I appeared for clerk’s post in Assam Rifles and gave every test from running, medical to typing. They called me thrice over two months. Later, I was told that I had not qualified the running test,” he said, alleging that he was not given preference even being in Category one (dependents of martyrs). “Where do we go?” summed Vivek’s sister, Priyanka, who was too numbed to speak.