Hundred-year-old Pritam Kaur, a resident of Bassian Bet village near here, cannot comprehend why the government is not ready to pay her the pension of her second husband.
A widow of Naik Arjun Singh who died in Burma while taking part in the World War 2 in 1942, Pritam Kaur was remarried to Sohan Singh, the younger brother of Arjun Singh. “We had been married for just three years and did not have any children. I was remarried to Sohan Singh who was subedar in the Engineers Core. Sohan Singh died in 1985 after completing his service. While I get Arjun Singh’s pension, the government does not allow me the pension of my second husband, and I do not know why.”
Pritam Kaur and many like her had come to meet Army Chief General V K Singh at a rally of ex-servicemen held on Sunday. Jaswant Kaur, one of the widows in her speech, said, “Just like our husbands, the sacrifices that we wives of the jawans make are immense. Living on a measly pension given to us after our husband dies in line of duty is a joke on a woman who is left to fend for her family and children. Our pension should be at least the last salary drawn by our husbands if not its double.”
Ruby, another Army widow and a resident of Kapurthala, said, “I get Rs 6,000 as pension and my in-laws do not support me. I have children and cannot remarry. This pension is simply not enough for me and my family.”
Jagdev Kaur, 80, wants a job for her grandson. “I get Rs 4,500 as pension. Sometimes the amount is even lesser, and I do not know why. My grandson who is a graduate is unemployed. If he could get a job, things would get better for us.”
Jagwinder Kaur said her husband died in 1984 riots while one of her two sons died serving in the Army. “I had two sons; both are dead. We — my daughter-in-law, two minor grandsons and I — survive on this pension which is not enough to even run a house, leave alone provide good education to my grandsons. I have requested the Army Chief to give special attention to us widows. While ex-servicemen have been able to secure their rights after protests and dharnas, we women who have seldom stepped out of our homes have got little to date.”
-via Financial Express