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Saturday, May 2, 2009
WHY NOT 54 MAHAVIR CHAKRAS ?
WHY ALL THE 54 POWs SHOULD NOT
BE GIVEN MAHA VIR CHAKRAS ?
In April 2008, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to the Centre on a petition before it, seeking the Govt. to place before the Court a report about the steps taken to trace the 54 defence personnel captured by the Pakistan army during 1971 war. The petition filed by advocate K.L.Sharma stated “Due to the negligence of the Government, these brave defence personnel were left unaccounted at the time of the exchange of war prisoners”. It accused the authorities of declaring them “presumed dead” without going into the roots of the case.
Lt.Gen. Jagjit Singh Arora, the 1971 War Hero said these POWs are neither considered dead, nor alive. If they are to be considered dead, their family should get all the benefits that accrue to families of defence personnel who die in action. If they are considered alive, their families should receive their salaries. However, these families receive meager pension determined by pay scales applicable in 1971.
One of the POWs Captain Ravinder Kaura’s where abouts were announced in Radio Lahore on Dec 7, 1991, his photo was published in 1971 by one Ambala news paper and his presence in Pakistan jails was confirmed by various news papers.
Despite so much information about a POW, the Govt. had in the meantime declared Captain.Kaura dead and awarded him Veer Chakra posthumously. Is that award given to suppress the inability of the govt.. to bring him back to India ? Is that the reason many awards are given posthumously ? If that is the case, all posthumous gallantry awards will have an eye of suspicion. In this particular case, out of 54 confirmed POWs, why Cap.Ravinder Kaura alone was given V.C posthumously (while he is Pakistan jail) ? Why all the 54 could not be given MVC ?.
38 years a long period. The Govt. should get all the 54 POWs back to India or accept its inability and honour all the 54 with Mahavir Chakras at least by 26th Jan 2010 and close the file.