Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has assured action and possible policy amendments after a widow of a Kirti Chakra awardee was denied her monthly annuity after her second marriage.
Anjini Dada became a window in 1999 when her husband Major Raman Dada of the 11th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment was killed in action in Assam. While he himself succumbed to his injuries, Major Dada killed three militants and was eventually honoured with a posthumous Kirti Chakra, the second-highest peacetime gallantry award in the country.
As per rules, the next of kin of deceased gallantry honour awardees are obliged to receive a monthly annuity. In the case of Major Dada, his wife received a sum of Rs 13,860 per month from the Punjab government, Indian Express reported.
The annuity stopped in 2005 when Anjini Dada remarried. This was in accordance with rules that restrict payment of the annuity to widows in case of a second marriage. Widows of awardees can only continue to receive annuity upon remarriage if they marry the deceased's brother.
In 2011, however, Anjini Dada and her second husband got divorced. Having a son and a daughter from her first and second marriages respectively, Anjini Dada fell on hard times after the divorce and was struggling to support herself when she approached the District Sainik Welfare Officer in Jalandhar.
However, she was informed earlier in the year that her case had been turned down by the Finance Department. Nevertheless, Dada's case has now been taken up by the Defence Welfare Department. Following reports of the incident, CM Amarinder Singh's office also expressed concerns over the issue.
"Have taken note of this and sought a detailed report in the matter. Will go by Indian Army policy in deciding on the issue of annuity to the Kirti Chakra awardee widow post remarriage, and if need be, will amend Punjab govt rules to align with the same," Singh was quoted by his media advisor Raveen Thukral on Twitter as saying.