NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday alleged that the UPA denied benefits to the “martyrs” of paramilitary forces for years and it was the Modi Government which ultimately conferred these benefits.
In a Facebook post, she said that on March 3, 2011, under the UPA II Government, a Cabinet note was moved by the Home Ministry for declaration of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) persons, who died on active duty, as martyrs.
Subsequently, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office referred the matter to a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) on March 14 2011.
“Further on, in the CoS meeting which was held on 14th September 2011, the committee could not reach a common consensus on giving shahid/martyr status to CAPF personnel who died on active duty. Thereafter, the matter was shelved altogether by Government of India and not taken up further,” Sitharaman said.
She said after the Pulwama terror attack, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi added a “new dimension” to the public discourse for the paramilitary personnel, who lay down their lives in the line of duty, by demanding that they be given the martyr status which is given to those belonging to the armed forces.
“Mr Gandhi doesn’t come from a school of thought wherein it is believed that those who sacrifice their lives for the cause of the nation are indeed martyrs in everyone’s eyes, mind, heart and soul,” she said.
Sitharaman said the Modi Government in 2016 increased the ex-gratia lump sum compensation to families of deceased CAPF jawans from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 35 lakh in case of deaths occurring in border skirmishes and action against militants. (AGENCIES)