NEW DELHI: The Centre's stand that status of 'martyr' cannot be given to paramilitary force personnel has been opposed in the Delhi High Court in a PIL which has sought they be treated with "equal national pride" like the army, navy and air force "without any distinction of uniform".
The submission was made in a rejoinder filed opposing the Centre's reply to the plea seeking same status to personnel of paramilitary forces as is given to armed forces.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in its response had said the status of 'martyr' is not accorded to armed forces personnel who sacrifice their lives on the line of duty and hence cannot be given to the paramilitary forces.
The petitioner, however, in the rejoinder said the government is trying to assess cost of lives of soldiers of central paramilitary forces by way of cash amount, whereas their plea was to only accord pride and honour to the force personnel by granting to them, honour of 'martyr' or 'shaheed' status.
"In any case the 'martyr' or 'shaheed' does not personally enjoy any benefits of the cash entitlement but they certainly leaves behind pride, valour, honour and magnanimity for his family, community and society at large. It remains an all time motivating factor for the youth to serve the nation even if it is at the cost of their lives," the petitioner said.
The petitioner, an advocate, was responding to the ministry's reply which stated that "in army/navy/air force, nomenclature for the word 'martyr' is battle casualty and physical casualty. The word 'martyr' is not used in the three services."
A PIL by advocates Abhishek Choudhary and Harsh Ahuja said the "parity has to be maintained by the government in granting benefits since the cost of life of the central paramilitary force personnel cannot be assessed less in making the supreme sacrifice for the country".
"In fact, the 'shaheed' of the defence forces gets more than Rs 10-15 lakh in comparison to paramilitary force personnel since they are declared shaheed or martyr.
"There are various additional benefits which are given to defence force personnel 'martyr' or 'shaheed' in comparison to the paramilitary force personnel," it added.
The petitioner said 31,895 paramilitary personnel have laid down their lives in past 53 years in the line of duty but the honour of being called a "martyr" still eludes the personnel of paramilitary and police forces.
In many places, like along the Pakistan border, paramilitary personnel work along with army men and in Maoist- affected states, they work with air force officials. But in case of death in action, the central armed police personnel are not accorded 'martyr' status, the rejoinder added.