Pulwama attack: A year on, ₹250 crore earmarked for ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ fund remain unutilised
The first anniversary of Pulwama attack saw people raising questions about the investigation by NIA, accountability of the government and non-utilisation of a fund created for the martyrs’ welfare
On the first anniversary of the Pulwama terror attack, the Congress asked the government to explain why no money from the Rs 250 crore collected for the martyrs of Pulwama had been spent; and if spent, how the fun has been utilised.
Addressing the media, Jaiveer Shergill pointed out that the Centre had created a fund called “Bharat ke Veer” after Pulwama attack. By June last year Rs 250 crore had been collected. But though the fund is managed by the Ministry of Home Affairs and is supervised by the Home Minister himself, the family of martyrs are yet to receive the monetary help they were promised. Nor have they received the pension pledged to them.
Watch the full address:
Soon after the Pulwama Terror Attack last year, when 44 CRPF jawans were martyred following a solitary suicide bomber ramming his explosive-laden car into a convoy of 78 vehicles, BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had gone on an overdrive.
While BJP workers draped in tricolour hit the streets, seeking revenge, chanting slogans and working up nationalistic fervour, Prime Minister Modi was the one who sought votes ‘for the sake of martyrs’ in the general election that followed.
Yet, when a year later, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Friday and asked who benefitted the most from the Pulwama attack, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra responded by saying that the comment was as dastardly as the terror attack. Can you think beyond benefits, he asked at a televised press conference.
But the fact remains that while the attack took place in the morning, the Prime Minister for the better part of the day was shooting a promotional film for Discovery Channel inside the Jim Corbett National Park. Questions whether the PM was apprised of the attack and when were never answered even as the PM emerged from the shoot with Bear Grylls late in the afternoon.
But while the investigation was handed over to the NIA, no answers have been given for the following questions:
1. Who supplied the explosives, where was it stored and who paid for it ?
2. The terror strike would have taken months of planning. Why did the intelligence agencies fail and has accountability been fixed ?
3. Civilian vehicles on the highway are routinely checked but how did the terrorist manage to infiltrate a large convoy comprising 78 vehicles, mostly buses ?
4. How did the terrorist know when and where to hit ?
Journalist Swati Chaturvedi tweeted:
The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel took a dig at the NIA investigation by tweeting:
“ I pay my tribute to brave who lost their life one year ago today in Pulwama attack.
With these, I will again repeat the same unsolved questions-
1. Where did the 300 KG RDX come from?
2. How far has the investigation reached?
3. Have the families of the martyrs got justice?
BJP has failed to honour Pulwama martyrs and their family as some of the families have claimed that the government has forgotten their martyrdom. The various announcements that the government made have remained only on paper.
Mahesh Kumar’s wife, jawan from Tudihar Badal-Ka-Purwa village of Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj district, Sanju Devi, (24), breaks down in tears while claiming that even after many political leaders have visited her home to sympathise with her, none of them has done anything to help her and family, reported the Hindustan Times.
“The incident left us devastated. My two sons Samar, 6, and Sahil, 5, are school- going but the promise of financial support for their education is yet to come. So I am teaching in a small school and meeting the expenses of their education,” Hindustan Times quoted Devi as saying.
Om Prakash Tripathi, father of martyr Pankaj Tripathi, Uttar Pradesh said, “The promise of developing a playground in the memory of my son is yet to be fulfilled. However, the land has been identified and a gate has been put up at the spot and a road crossing which had to be named after him is yet to be done.”
Mahesh Kumar’s mother Shanti Devi said that a government job was promised for her younger son but they are still waiting for it. They also promised 1.5 acres of land and a gate to honour Kumar but these have also not been fulfilled.
In Agra, martyr Kaushal Kumar Rawat’s wife Mamta said, “Local leaders have insulted the name of my husband by mentioning his name in small.”
Rawat is survived by two sons, a daughter, his wife and mother. Now, the family has been left with only his pension as Rawat was the single bread earner.
“We got ₹25 lakh ex-gratia on that very day but the government has given us nothing. There are so many government policies for martyrs like allotment of land, an effigy, a martyr’s gate is to be built a government school’s name and the village’s name changes... But not a single ‘shaheed’ policy has been implemented,” said the family as per the Quint report.
Family of martyr Sanjay Sinha from Bihar said, “We are fully dependent on his pension. We, his parents, are old and get a meagre pension of ₹400. What can happen with such little money? How will our family survive? Shouldn't the government pay heed to our family situation?”
Meanwhile, the twitter handle of the Congress posted: