Army chief to flag off veterans rally in Karnataka

Bengaluru: The Indian Army chief, General Dalbir Singh, will on Saturday flag off a mega rally at Madikeri for the benefit of veterans and war widows living in Karnataka's Kodagu region. "The rally is being held to benefit about 4,700 ex-servicemen from the region and give them an opportunity to air their grievances to the senior officers," an army officer told IANS here on Friday. Located in the southern part of the biodiverse-rich Western Ghats, Kodagu is the birth place of Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa and General K.S. Thimayya, both former Indian Army chiefs, with a sizeable population of war veterans and war widows. As the army's first Indian Commander-in-Chief, Cariappa (1899-1993) led the force on the western front during the 1947 Indo-Pak war. He was the second of the two officers to hold the five-star rank of Field Marshal, the first being Sam Manekshaw. General Thimayya, who was the Army Chief from 1957-61, was the only Indian to command an infantry brigade in second World War (1939-45). "It is a matter of pride for the natives of Kodagu, which produced two great generals for the army and a large number of serving and retired defence personnel," the officer recalled. General Singh will also pay homage to Field Marshal Cariappa at Cariappa Memorial Park and visit 'Sunny Side', the abode of General Thimayya on the occasion. The focus of the rally will be to resolve anomalies in the disbursement of pension and legal cases the veterans are fighting for justice. The rally will touch the lives of ex-servicemen and help them in benefitting from the welfare schemes of the army and the government.  "General Singh will express army's solidarity with its retired fraternity and assure them that the army and the government will be sensitive to their needs and ensure veterans and their families are cared for and looked after well," the officer added. Organised by the army's Karnataka and Kerala sub-area, the rally will have a medical camp, pension clinic, canteen service and stalls of the army welfare education society, army welfare placement organisation, army veteran's cell, Aadhar card registration and bank loan facilities. The GOC-inC Southern Command, Lt. General Bipin Rawat, the GOC Dakshin Bharat Area, Lt.Gen Jagbir Singh and the GOC Karnataka and Kerala Sub-Area, Major General K.S Nijjar, will be present on the occasion along with senior ministry and Rajya Sainkik Board officials. The army chief, his wife Namita Suhag, who is president of the Army Wives Welfare Association and her regional president Madhulika Rawat will felicitate war widows at the event. General Dalbir Singh is likely to express Army's solidarity with its retired fraternity and assure them that the Government and the Army would always be sensitive to their needs and take every step to ensure that the veterans and their families are cared for and looked after will. The general will also join the veterans and war widows for a "bara khana' after the rally. IANS