In a heart-breaking incident, a former Army personnel, who fought for the Indo-China war, now drives an autorickshaw at 71 in Hyderabad to earn a living. He has appealed to the government for help.
Sheikh Abdul Kareem, who is also a recipient for the Star Medal award for his contribution to the war, was recruited in the Indian Army in 1964 following the death of his father, who had also worked for the British and Indian Armies.
“I participated in the India-China war and was posted in Lahaul area. I was awarded Star Medal and was the special award recipient in 1971,” he said in a statement to ANI.
The 71-year-old said recalled how during the reign of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, many “surplus” Indian Army men were removed from the post and he was one of them.
While in the army, he had applied for government lands and was given few in Gollapalli village in what is now Telangana.
However, after 20 years, the five acres land he was given, was distributed among seven village persons and even after several complaining about the same, the original land has been denied to be him.
Kareem further stated that it has been more than a year, but the paperwork of his land is yet to be completed and he doesn’t even own a home now.
Speaking to ANI, he also said, “I offered my services to this nation as an army personnel for nine years but was removed and am now driving an auto-rickshaw at the age of 71. It has been difficult to feed my family. I do not even have my own house so that I can look after my family.”
He urged the government to provide double bedroom flats to ex-army servicemen and provide financial help to them, who need it.
Kareem alleges that despite rendering out a longtime service to the Indian Army, he hasn’t even received any sort of pension or any financial support from the government.