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Special compensation for ill-fated soldier Thursday, April 26, 2001
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government is considering a special compensation package for a soldier from the state who died in a road accident in Jammu and Kashmir on the same day that his wife gave birth to twin girls.
"Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has asked additional chief secretary I.P. Gautam to look into the matter and see if there any possibility of providing some relief to the soldier's family," a senior official in the chief minister's office said Wednesday. Patel is currently in Delhi for a meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Vishnupal Singh Bhadoria, a junior commissioned officer with the army's Rashtriya Rifles regiment, died April 20 when the vehicle he was driving skidded off a road in Kashmir. News of his death came as a major shock for his wife Rama who gave birth to the twins the same day.
The families of Indian soldiers who die while on active duty receive insurance and pension benefits, including a death gratuity. The governments of some states provide land or financial assistance to families of soldiers who die in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir or the northeastern states.
The next of kin of soldiers who die in accidents, like Bhadoria, do not usually receive any help from state governments. The official in Chief Minister Patel's office said a decision on helping Bhadoria's family would be taken late Wednesday or Thursday.
A day before his death, the 25-year-old soldier and sole breadwinner of his family, called his home in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's principal city, to enquire about his pregnant wife and told his father Ravinderpal Singh Bhadoria that he would come home for a visit the following week.
But destiny willed otherwise and his body arrived at Ahmedabad airport April 23. "He died without knowing that he had fathered twins," said Ravindrapal.
"Some local soldiers came here April 21 and gave us the news about Vishnupal's death. The soldiers said the vehicle being driven by him skidded off the road in Jammu and Kashmir and he died in the accident. That's all we know," he said.
Bhadoria's wife is in a state of shock. Rama has not spoken to anyone in the family ever since the news of her husband's death was broken to her. The only occasion she showed any emotion was when the body arrived and she broke down.
Ravindrapal settled in Ahmedabad 40 years ago after migrating from the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh. He was employed with Sonu Mills, which closed down recently, rendering him jobless. His second son, Rishiraj Singh, has appeared for the secondary school certificate examination, while his third son is only 10.
"We don't know what to do now. We were dependent on Vishnupal till now. But I have decided to send my second son, Rishiraj Singh, to the army," he said.
"My brother died in the service of the country. I will do the same," Rishiraj said.