Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said his government was formulating a policy to award a one-rank promotion for any defence or police personnel or officer from Punjab winning a gallantry award in war or in peacetime.
If any such officers or personnel wish to join Punjab Police, their service and bravery would be given due recognition, said the CM while pipping the stars of assistant sub-inspector (ASI) on the uniform of Kargil war hero Satpal Singh.
Amarinder had promoted the Vir Chakra awardee on Friday, from his earlier rank of senior constable, in which capacity he was managing traffic in Sangrur district till 26 July. The director-general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta was also present at the pipping ceremony.
Amarinder said he had merely set right the wrong perpetrated on Satpal by the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government, which had ignored the valour of the soldier, and failed to give him the recognition and respect he deserved. The CM said he had not been aware earlier of the situation and what he had done now was merely a case of ‘too little too late’ for the brave soldier. This should have been done at the time of Satpal’s recruitment in 2010, he added.
The policy to be drafted by his government will leave no scope for such injustice, Amarinder said, making it clear that the policy would cover police gallantry award winners, including Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), in addition to the jawans of the defence forces.
The CM said his government was committed to the welfare of soldiers/ex-soldiers, whose sacrifices to the nation and its people could not be allowed to go unrecognized. He said he had been pained on hearing that Satpal was working as a senior traffic constable and wanted to give the dignity and respect that the brave soldier deserved.
On Friday, the 20th anniversary of the Kargil War, the CM came across Satpal’s plight through newspaper reports and issued the orders for his promotion as ASI, directing the DGP to relax Rule 12.3 of Punjab Police Rules. He also authorized the DGP to grant the required relaxation in age to Satpal, who also belonged to the CM’s (a former Captain in the Army) 8 Sikhs battalion.
Satpal joined Punjab Police after his discharge from the Army, was posted in Drass sector during Operation Vijay. Part of the team that helped the Indian Army capture Tiger Hill, Satpal killed Captain Karnal Sher Khan of the Northern Light Infantry and three others. Sher Khan was later conferred the Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan’s highest gallantry award, on the recommendation of the Indian brigade commander who vouched for his bravery on the icy heights.