Punjab formulating policy for gallantry awardees

Chandigarh, July 29 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said his government was formulating a policy to award a one-rank promotion for any defence or police personnel from the state winning a gallantry award in war or peacetime.

If any such officers or personnel wish to join Punjab Police, their service and bravery would be given due recognition, said the Chief Minister, while 'pipping the stars' of Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) on the uniform of Kargil war hero Satpal Singh.

Satpal Singh, who joined Punjab Police after his discharge from the Indian Army, was posted in Drass sector during Operation Vijay in 1999.

Interestingly, Satpal Singh finds mention in Amarinder's book 'A Ridge Too Far -- War in the Kargil Heights'.

Amarinder, who served as an Army captain during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, promoted the Vir Chakdra awardee on Friday from his earlier rank of Senior Constable in which capacity he was managing traffic in Sangrur district till July 26.

Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta was also present at the pipping ceremony.

Amarinder said he had merely set right the wrong perpetrated on Satpal Singh by the previous SAD-BJP government which had ignored the valour of the soldier and failed to give him the recognition and respect he deserved.

The Chief Minister said he had not been aware earlier of the situation and what he had done now was merely a case of "too little too late" for the brave soldier.

This should have been done at the time of Satpal Singh's recruitment in 2010, he said.

The policy to be drafted by his government will leave no scope for such injustice, Amarinder said, making it clear that the policy would cover police gallantry award winners, including JCOs, in addition to the jawans of the defence forces.

The Chief Minister said his government was committed to the welfare of soldiers and ex-soldiers whose sacrifices to the nation and its people could not be allowed to go unrecognised.

He said he had been pained to hear that Satpal Singh was working as a senior traffic constable and wanted to give the dignity and respect that the brave soldier deserved.

On Friday, the 20th anniversary of the Kargil War, the Chief Minister had ordered double promotion for Satpal Singh, lamenting that the valiant soldier had not been given due recognition at the time of his recruitment into Punjab Police by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government in 2010.

Amarinder came across Satpal Singh's plight through newspaper reports and issued the orders for his promotion as ASI, directing the DGP to relax Rule 12.3 of the Punjab Police Rules.

Part of the team that helped the Indian Army recapture Tiger Hill, Satpal Singh had killed Captain Karnal Sher Khan of Pakistan's Northern Light Infantry and three others in the battle.

--IANS

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