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'Kin of fallen war heroes feel alienated'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 10, 2006 17:29 IST
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Inadequate support from the government to the families of fallen war heroes is making them feel alienated in society, former Army chief V P Malik said on Monday.

"I feel that martyrs of wars and those who sacrificed their lives in proxy wars are not being given their due respect," Malik, who was the Army chief during the 1999 Kargil war, told PTI.

He asserted that the government was required to take 'interest' in the families of fallen soldiers in order to 'improve strategic culture.'

"I keep meeting the families of the Kargil jawans who sacrificed their lives. They feel that they were looked after only initially and now nobody bothers about them. Families of those who laid down their lives in wars and proxy wars feel alienated after some time," Malik said.

The former Army chief cited annual remembrance services in honour of the Kargil martyrs, saying the events were organised mostly by the families and social organisations instead of the government.

"In fact on Sunday, the father of Lt Vijyant Thapar, a Kargil martyr, invited people to mark the Shaurya Diwas (Kargil victory). Then there was M S Bitta (All India Anti-Terrorist Front chief) taking the initiative (to remember the war heroes). Such events should be done by the government," Malik remarked.

Malik cited what he called the US government's unstinted support to the families of American soldiers who died in recent conflicts in Iraq. "They really go out of the way in honouring their slain soldiers. The President there himself goes to receive the bodies. There are state ceremonies in honour of the fallen heroes. We need to learn from them," he said.

Participating in the Shaurya Diwas observance on Sunday in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, the former Army chief had remarked that he was expecting the state and district administration to be hosting the event next year. 'I would like to see this being done by the district and the state administration, with the help of these families and not the other way round,' he said.

In his comments, Bitta flayed the government for its level of support to the fallen war heroes' families. He also deplored Centre's move to hold a round table conference with separatists, recalling the government crushed insurgency in Punjab without holding any talks with militants. "If it could be tit-for-tat in Punjab, why cannot the same yardstick be applied in Kashmir," he said.

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