As the flurry of admissions takes lakhs of undergraduate aspirants by storm, a case of turbulent admission presents itself; reeking of sheer injustice and irony. Aspiring to take admission under the Children of War Widows Category (CW Quota), Anjali Sirohi’s brother, and son of Late Lt. Col. Ravinder Kumar, was subjected to a harrowing experience. The authorities refused to accept the documents submitted by the applicant and asked his mother to provide proof of her husband’s death.
Probing the issue
Anjali took to Facebook to narrate this unjust tale on July 5th:
Through the Facebook post, Anjali sought to draw eyes of the netizens to the exploitation and blatant mishandling of the issue by the authorities.
According to the regulations, Anjali’s brother fits in the 3rd Priority, the ‘Widows/Wards of Defence personnel who died in peace time with death attributable to military service.’ In their case, the Certificate of Educational Concession was drawn up by the Rajya Sainik Board. However, during the actual process, authorities from the Kendrya Sainik Board (KSB) were called in to verify these certificates, who refused to accept Sirohi’s document on grounds of corruption in the ‘Rajya Sainik Board’. The KSB authority further added that the certificate is not admissible as it doesn’t mention the term ‘with death attributable to military service.’ Speaking to DU Beat, Anjali says, “The exact terms were not mentioned in our certificate, due to which the person from the KSB refused to accept our documents. However, this phrase was mentioned in some certificates and not in others. The blatant discrepancy in record-keeping is the Board’s fault and cannot be pinned on us.”
The sheer apathy which the family was subjected to is deeply disturbing. Anjali went on to add that the officer asked her mother to prove the death of her husband as an official document, bitterly humiliating her. “After eight years, my mother was asked to produce documents proving her husband’s death conditions and was forced to pull all strings for arranging the certificates. The sheer humiliation she had to endure by the authorities was uncalled for”, she says.
Anjali had also tried contacting the Army Veterans Cell and the PMO’s website to seek for help but wasn’t acknowledged with a response. Last year, her sister who aspired to enroll in the University of Delhi’s Faculty of Medical Sciences-Lady Hardinge Medical College, was not granted admission due to a series of issues. Anjali explains how the seats were awarded to two students of influential figures – seats which should have clearly been offered to her sister who was eligible for it. They proceeded to take the issue to the High Court, never receiving a climactic order for the same.
Anjali’s mother was able to get the revised certificates documented in time. Hinting at a flair of hope, Anjali says, “The officers have accepted the certificate and we are now awaiting further actions as per the procedure.”
The framework of the CW category
Every year, candidates are admitted in the varsity through the CW quota, which offers respite to candidates hailing from a defence background. The University allows a provision of 5% (increased from last year’s 3%) of seats in each course to the children of eligible armed forces. The 5% concession offered to these candidates takes place in a particular order as per the guidelines. The admission procedure is conducted within a common pool of applicants at the Conference Centre in North Campus, where these applicants proceed to get their documents verified as the category list keeps descending. Documents majorly include the CW Category form, death certificate of the father, and the pension order.
Where the irony lies
The last few years have witnessed an erratic upward trajectory in our nationalistic attitudes. From debates about intolerance to altercations alluding to endorsing ‘anti-national’ speech, the country has grown conscious of the scrupulous membrane of patriotism which we’re bound to conform to. Amidst these confusing times, a certain pattern seems to have developed with each conflict – the usage of soldiers as a noble foundation of one’s argument. Some may nod their heads in agreement while others may regard it as a sour attribution to our country when I say the rhetoric of ‘Humare jawaan sarhad pe lad rahe hai’ has been used as frequently as the flinging of the blame on women when it comes to rape.
Sadly, this is where the adulation of the armed forced ends. Beyond the chatter of hailing and exultation, there lies the stark reality of exploitation of these families and the apparent unawareness which plagues them. Anjali recalls her encounters with various such families who remain in the dark about the quota services available to them, and how their rights are snatched from them, making them more susceptible to suffering.
It is important to comprehend that this is not a solitary incident; there are innumerable families of the armed forces who share a similar fate but are unable to exercise action due to the lack of services at their disposal. This issue is riddled with blatant corruption, mismanagement, and an unveiled disregard for those families who carry the baggage of the past. Awareness about these provisions needs to be disseminated. Only then can one truly laud the machinery and councils in place which seek to cater to the force of justice.
Feature Image Credits: Anjali Sirohi