Making an exception to the State Government’s existing ‘Policy of Appointments of Honour and Gratitude’, the Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday okayed amendment to rules to provide jobs in the state services to married siblings of three bachelor battle casualties of the Galwan Valley.The decision has been taken by the Captain Amarinder Singh government in recognition of the supreme sacrifice made by Sepoy Gurtej Singh, Sepoy Gurbinder Singh and L/Nk Saleem Khan.As per existing rules, only dependent family members or next of kin of the battle casualties were eligible for jobs, but in the case of these three men, since no dependent family member existed, the government decided to make an exception and give jobs to their married brothers.Disclosing this, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that Gurpreet Singh (Married brother of Sepoy Gurtej Singh (Unmarried); Gurpreet Singh, married brother of Sepoy Gurbinder Singh (Unmarried); and Niyamat Ali, married brother of L/Nk Saleem Khan (Unmarried), had applied for appointment in the State Services despite not falling under the definition of “Dependent members of the War Heroes”.
The spokesperson pointed out that under the Policy of Appointments and Honour and Gratitude in the Class I and II services to the dependent members of families of “War Heroes” dated September 24, 1999 and the Policy of Appointments and Honour and Gratitude in the Class III and IV services to the dependent members of families of “War Heroes” dated August 19, 1999, the widow or the dependent member of the family of a “War Hero” is offered appointment in the State Services.A dependent member of a War Hero under the aforesaid policies is defined as a “Widow or Wife or a dependent son or dependent unmarried daughter or adopted dependent son or adopted unmarried daughter. However, in case the War Hero is unmarried but had other dependents on him, then one of the dependent unmarried brothers/unmarried sisters was eligible for consideration for appointment under this policy, revealed the spokesperson.Notably, five soldiers belonging to Punjab laid down their lives in Ladakh sector in June, 2020, during an unprovoked aggression by the People’s Liberation Army of China. Such deaths are normally declared as Battle Casualty by the Army Headquarters and the Next of Kin of such soldiers are granted financial assistance and one dependent family member of each martyred soldier is also given jobs, as per the Policy of Appointments and Honour and Gratitude of the State Government. But out of these five soldiers, three were unmarried at the time of their martyrdom. Further, none of the family members of the above mentioned three martyrs are covered under the definition of the “dependent members of the War Heroes” in the aforesaid policies, thus prompting the State Government to make a departure from norm as a mark of honour and gratitude to these martyrs, as they are survived by their old parents and other family members.