A veteran soldier’s lament–Must Read

*Letter dt 09 Feb 2012 to Mr Salman Khurshid*
*Honble Minister Of Law & Justice*
*By Lt Gen (Retd) SK Bahri*

1.           Thank you for your DO letter No MLJ/2011-125 dated *6 Jan 2012*.
I am glad that you have got the urgency and sense of frustration which I
was trying to convey in my letter dated 14 Nov 2011. What is heartening is
that you cared to reply even though it was not directly addressed to you.
Grateful for your offer to try and persuade your colleagues to help our
cause.  I did get an acknowledgement from Mr AK Antony, RM saying that he
has noted the points made by me. But knowing the people who craft the
actions of MOD, I do not expect any positive action from that quarter. It
seems that you did so because you as Minister Of Law & Justice felt that
something was related to your charge.  Truly it does!

2.           If you are aware of the judgements that the Supreme Court,
various High Courts and the Armed Forces Tribunals have passed in favour of
veterans you will notice that there is one thing very evident ie. the
government has been consistently *resisting* the implementation of the
crystal clear orders of the Honble entities. The excuses are many which you
can easily ascertain from your senior law officers, who represent the
government in these courts. Largely the counter petitions are designed to
frustrate and tire an aging veteran community, till they give up in
disgust. Even though law is on the veterans side they are being denied
justice. Mr Minister this is where you come in. As you are the Minister of
Law & *Justice.*

3.           *Please carry out an audit of all the cases* your law officers
are defending in all the courts mentioned by me above and decide, in an
expeditious manner, if they are being pursued only because the bureaucracy
is trying to prove the point that it has to lord over the defence services,
however discriminatory it may be. The serving and the retired soldiers *are
totally disillusioned* with the government, specially the political set up,
for not protecting them from *a rapacious bureaucracy*. Imagine, the
judgement given by the Supreme Court on 8 Mar 2010 regarding payment to
officers of the rank of Majors to Brigadiers, rank pay due to them from the
5th Pay Commission onwards is being contested on the plea that it involves
too many calculations to work out the dues of so many veterans that it may
take years, so the order is not implementable!  This is plea given after
numerous adjournments due to the absence of the Attorney General. Is the
government still living in the pre calculator age and not aware that we are
an IT power? According to experts, the whole exercise should not take not
more than 3 months! Mr Minister please put some sense into the heads of
these born obstructionists. The beneficiaries are only old soldiers or
their widows.

4.           The IAS is responsible for putting India  amongst the bottom
few of the worlds most corrupt countries. IPS is a law unto itself and
people fear it and stay away from it rather than go to it for help. But
every IAS man retires as an Additional secretary and an IPS man retires as
an IG Police, at the minimum. While even after 63 years 60 % of officers
retire as Lt Cols. Their edge in pay and pension having been eroded by a
relentless campaign by the bureaucracy against soldiers, supported by
condescending politicians.

5.           I thank you for all the compliments you have paid soldiers
like me for protecting the country from our external enemies but please Mr
Salman Khurshid, *protect us from our enemies within*. Thats the least you
can do. We are a bit cheesed off by the platitudes being heaped on us
during the Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations and instead want
to see them converted into action.

*Mr Salman Khurshid*
Honble Minister Of Law & Justice

*CC**:   *Mr AK Antony
  1. March 18, 2012 -

    There is a slight error at para 3 of the letter written by Lt Gen (Retd) SK Bahri. The pay commission affected is the 4th, and not the fifth. Officers affected are Captains and senior ranks, not Majors to Brigadiers.