Saturday, June 10, 2017

Uri martyr’s family faces caste bias

Dinesh Manhotra
Tribune News Service
Sarwah (Samba), June 9
The family of Uri martyr Havildar Ravi Pal has become a victim of caste prejudice as villagers are neither allowing the installation of the martyr’s statue at the main entrance of the village nor allocating a small piece of land to connect Ravi’s home to the link road.
Ironically, after his martyrdom, the bumpy link road was named as “Shaheed Ravi Pal Marg” but villagers are not sparing land to allow construction of a 10-foot wide road up to Ravi’s house.
In the upper caste-dominated Sarwah village, situated between the Swankhamore-Chang road and the Vijaypur-Ramgarh road, there are two dozen families belonging to backward classes and Scheduled Castes out of over 120 families. As Ravi’s family belongs to a backward class, it is facing caste prejudice.
Although Ravi’s wife Geeta Devi sought to downplay caste bias, his brother Raj Kumar was forthright on the issue.
“Obviously caste is one of the factors of not fulfilling commitment made to our family at the time of the martyrdom of my brother,” Raj told The Tribune while narrating how authorities were brazenly evading their responsibility of constructing a road to Ravi’s house and installing his statue at the main entrance.
Ravi’s family is obviously shocked with the apathy of the local as well as the administration where petty considerations have eclipsed respect towards the soldier, who was martyred during the Uri terror attack.
On September 19, 2015, during the cremation of Ravi, it was promised by the government that his statue would be installed at the main entrance of the village. As ministers, bureaucrats and other VIPs had to wade through water-logged fields to reach the martyr’s home, it was also committed that a road would be constructed to connect Ravi’s house to the link road.
“For the past six months, I have been approaching the authorities to fulfil the commitments but it appears that those who are opposing the construction of road are more powerful than those who are at the helm of the affairs,” Geeta Devi told The Tribune. She recalled that local BJP legislator Chander Prakash Ganga, who is a Cabinet minister, had promised to install Ravi’s statue and construction of a road but nothing had been done so far. “We are ready to get his (Ravi’s) statue sculpted on our own expenditure but the authorities have failed to convince the people to allocate suitable land for it,” Geeta Devi said.
Ramgarh Tehsildar Raman Chalotra said he had joined recently. “I will definitely look into the matter. Every possible help will be provided to the martyr’s family,” he said.

BJP ‘abandons’ martyrs’ families
Jammu: BJP leaders have no time to visit martyrs’ families of Jammu to enquire about their problems. Party’s national general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal was holding a door-to-door campaign, just two kilometres from the house of Uri martyr Ravi Pal, but the local leadership failed to take him to the martyr’s home. Ironically, during the campaign, BJP leaders were raking up peoples’ sentiments against Pakistan but they forgot Ravi’s family.

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