Having fought his war against Pakistan in 1965 as a craftsman in the Indian Army, Raj Kumar Gupta (69) has waged another battle, this time with the Indian government itself, for allegedly denying him his due pension after he was forced to retire on health grounds in 1970. During the war, when Gupta was on duty at Sialkot sector heavy bombardment caused battery acid spill over into his eyes, causing him a headache.
Now, to avail of his pension that was denied to him due to what he claims to be “sheer administrative negligence”, he has taken on the Army and the government through series of applications under the RTI Act and letters to the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi, the President, Defence Minister A K Anthony, ex-Army chief V K Singh, Vadodara district collector, Rajya Sainik Board Ahmedabad, and even CM Narendra Modi.
His second letter to President Pratibha Patil, highlighting his case of the “most irresponsible administration existed amongst both military and civil authorities,” was shot off a day ago. “Because of a headache, I was sent to military hospital in Dehradun and then to a hospital in Meerut. My right eye and chest were operated without proper check-up, due to which I cannot stand or walk continuously for five minutes,” Gupta said.
“I was shifted to military hospital in Shillong, where I was in a psychiatric hospital for four months. I was declared unfit,” he recalled.
When another ex-Armyman J A R Krishnan came to know about his case in 1999, he decided to fight on Gupta’s behalf. Since 2007, he has filed a series of RTI applications to Indian Army RTI Cell, Principal Controller of Defence Accounts, Allahabad, Naval Headquarters Mumbai, Headquarters Southern Command, Pune, to know why he was denied his pension “They were all sticking to the same point: the disease which he was affected was neither due to service nor aggravated because of service conditions,” Krishnan said. “His case is 42 years old. However, we have begun pursuing the case only recently. If the President does not take any action, we will take the case to the Armed Forces Tribunal,” he added.
-via Express India.