After losing a leg fighting Maoists, Shaurya Chakra awardee demoted for being 'medically unfit'

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SummaryAsst Commandant CRPF, R K Singh, lost his left leg from below the knee in a serial IED blast.

Shaurya Chakra awardee R K Singh, Assistant Commandant CRPF, stares at a bleak future — even the risk of losing his job. Two years ago Singh lost his left leg from below the knee while fighting a group of more than 100 Maoists in Lohardagga forests in Jharkhand, an area rigged by 192 IEDs that went off simultaneously.

Singh, who was promoted as a deputy commandant soon after he returned from the Jharkhand operation in May 2011, received a letter this January that his promotion was being cancelled as he was “medically unfit”.

Singh was declared as an “S5” case, the lowest grade in medical parlance given to anyone who is found not to be “physically fit for service”, by a board of doctors who examined him.

“For one-and-half years he was posted as a DC in the same office he is posted now. After he got the letter in January he was reporting to his juniors in the same office. Who will want to risk their lives in counter-insurgency operations if this is the treatment meted out to people who risked their lives fighting for the country,” said a close friend of Singh.

Singh refused to speak citing service rules. He is presently posted at CRPF’s group centre in Noida looking after administrative work.

To explain his case, Singh sought an appointment from the then home secretary R K Singh but failed to get audience. He even put up his case before the then CRPF DG Pranay Sahay who agreed to get his case re-examined. Both R K Singh and Sahay have retired now.

“When we come back from battlefields, who is there to look after our welfare. I know of a constable who lost both his eyes while defusing an IED. When he went for a posting he was told “kya karna hai posting ka, pay to mil rahi hai na (what is there in posting when you are getting the pay)”.

This is the kind of apathy the men who fought bravely have to face when they come back. It is highly demoralising for the forces. Look at the Indian Army, they don’t desert their men like this,” the friend said.

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