Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on March 11 met a delegation of war widows from across the State who supported the current policies of his government for the families of the martyrs, amid a simmering protest by the widows of three CRPF jawans killed in the 2019 Pulwama terror attack.
The Pulwama widows have been protesting since February 28, demanding a change in rules so that their relatives and not just children can get government jobs on compassionate grounds. Their other demands include the construction of roads and the installation of statues of the martyrs in their villages. Early Friday, they were removed by Rajasthan police from the protest site outside Congress leader Sachin Pilot's residence in Jaipur.
Without naming Mr. Gehlot, Mr. Pilot told reporters in Tonk that the issue should be heard keeping ego aside.
"I believe we can fulfil demands like laying roads, erecting houses and installing statues. A message should not go out that we are not ready to listen to the demands of the widows of the martyrs," he added.
On Saturday, Mr. Gehlot met a group of war widows from across the State who supported the current policies of the Rajasthan government for them, an official statement said. It said this group of widows expressed the view that demonstrating on "unfair demands" affect the image of all war widows.
"Salute to war widows. Salute to the sacrifice," Mr. Gehlot tweeted after meeting the war widows at his residence.
"Expressing their feelings, the widows of the martyrs gave their support to the current policies of the State Government. It is not appropriate to give the jobs and rights of war widows and their children to someone else. The State Government will always stand with the martyrs and their families," the Chief Minister said.
Mr. Gehlot said the State Government has the highest honour for martyrs and war widows.
"The dependents of the martyrs have been employed by the state government in government services as per the rules. The rules will be followed in future too. No injustice will be allowed to happen to the dependents of the martyrs,” he added.
Mr. Gehlot said the Kargil package was implemented for the martyrs during his previous tenure.
Under the package, ₹25 lakh for the families of martyrs, 25 bighas of land, accommodation from the housing board and an additional ₹25 lakh for those not taking the accommodation, and jobs for war widows or their children are provided, he said.
"There is also a provision of fixed deposit of ₹5 lakh for the parents of the martyr. In addition, provisions were also done to install statues of martyrs and to name any one public place after the name of martyrs," he said.
“There should be no politicisation of matters related to martyrs. There is no provision in the rules to give job to any other family member other than the war widows or children. This demand is unjustified and due to this the widows may have to face undue family and social pressure in future,” the Chief Minister said.
The war widows expressed satisfaction over the package being given by the State Government to the families of the martyrs. They said the job should be given only to the war widows or their children.
The statement said martyr Havaldar Ramesh Kumar Dagar's wife Kusum said the demand for giving compensatory government job to the brother-in-law is not according to the rules.
"This demand of the (Pulwama) widows sitting on dharna is illegitimate. Other war widows also have to bear the consequences of demanding jobs for other family members instead of the martyr's children. Demonstrations on unfair demands affect the image of all war widows,” she said.
Another war widow, Krishna Jat, wife of martyr Havaldar Shyam Sunder Jat, said only the children of martyrs have the right to get jobs given as compensation by the State Government.
“It is wrong for war widows to agitate to get jobs for brother-in-law, or other family members. The stand of the State Government in this matter is sensitive and correct,” she said.
Priyanka Kanwar, wife of martyr Lance Naik Madan Singh, and Namita Ramawat, wife of martyr Havaldar Hoshiar Singh, also termed the demonstration wrong and against the rules, the statement said.