72% of War Widows from Seven Northern States, 218 from JK: Defence Minister

SRINAGAR: Seven northern states of the country, including Jammu & Kashmir, remain the highest contributors to the armed forces as they account for 72% of veer naris (war widows).

During a recent announcement, the Defence Minister disclosed that the seven northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu-Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh have a total of 10,521 veer naris out of the country’s 14,467, accounting for 72 percent.

“Punjab tops with 2,132 veer naris, which means that most of the soldiers belong to Punjab. Uttar Pradesh has 1,805 followed by Haryana with 1566,” said the Ministry of Defence in the Rajya Sabha on Monday while detailing the state-wise number of veer naris.

Rajasthan had 1,317 veer naris and Uttarakhand, located in the Himalayan region, stood fourth with 1,407. Meanwhile, Jammu & Kashmir UT remained ahead of several big states with 1,218 veer naris. The Ministry of Defence previously shared state-wise representation of troops in the Lok Sabha, revealing that north-western states including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi, along with UTs of Chandigarh and J&K, collectively account for 21.88% of troops and junior commissioned officers (JCOs) in the Army.

JCOs are appointed from the enlisted troops. The total strength of troops and JCOs in the Army is 11.54 lakhs, out of which 2.52 lakhs are from north-western states. Among these, Punjab has the highest contribution with 89,893 troops and JCOs, which constitutes 7.78% of the total strength. However, the Army does not keep a record of the domicile of its current 43,000 officers. This information was revealed in the Lok Sabha, where it was disclosed that the IAF and Navy maintain such records.

Data from the 2011 Census suggests the collective population of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, J&K and Chandigarh constitutes just 7.47% of the country’s population.

Yet, as many as 20,483 (15.85%) of the 1.29 lakh IAF airmen belong to the north-western states. In the case of the Navy, the north-western states have a share of 19.36% among sailors. Overall, the three forces have 13, 41,944 jawans, JCOs, airmen and sailors. The north-western states contribute 2, 84,440 (21.19%) of these.(KNO)


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