KOCHI: Mini Santhosh, the widow of late Santhosh Kumar from Kalamassery, had no idea how to arrange resources for the wedding of her daughter single-handedly. Santhosh passed away while posted on the Line of Control in 1988 and since then, Mini had been struggling to raise her daughter and keep the family together. As a token of respect for the martyred soldier, the local residents took it upon themselves to get their daughter married.
At the ceremony, 44 officers from the Madras Regiment, the oldest regiment in the Indian Army, were also present. They were there to meet the war widows and ailing ex-soldiers personally on a bike rally from Jammu to Thiruvananthapuram.
After taking details from the war widows and ex-Army men at every district they pass through, they will submit the report to departments concerned for immediate resolution. This is the first time in the country that the officers are directly receiving complaints and concerns from the ex-servicemen and war widows.
The initiative is being done in connection with the 263rd birthday of the Madras regiment on December 4 and the golden jubilee of India having won the Indo-Bangladesh war in 1971 (Swarnam Vijaya Varsh).
The rally culminated on December 4 from Thiruvananthapuram, said Lt Col Hemand Raj, who is leading the team. The teams are travelling from Jammu, through New Delhi, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Secunderabad, Chennai and Ooty. The ride begins at 7am and ends by 6pm every day. The team spends a minimum of 45 minutes at every point, to interact with schoolchildren, locals and politicians apart from war widows and ex-servicemen.
Colonel of the regiment Lt General Manjinder Singh flagged off the rally at Udhampur, Jammu. He will also flag in the rally at Thiruvananthapuram Pangode military station. After the flag-in ceremony, the troops will visit the Pazhavangadi Ganapati temple, which is being maintained by the Madras Regiment.