Bangaluru: Havildar (Retd) John P.J., who fought the Pakistani terrorists at Nariman House in Mumbai during the 26/11 terror attack in 2008 is finding dealing with the state’s bureaucratic apathy a much bigger challenge!
Six years down the line, John, who bravely fought terrorists during the Operation Black Tornado, is fighting a protracted battle to get a job as Sub Inspector in Excise Department, but is unable to do so because of an error in one of his certificates.
“Had I died on that day at Nariman House fighting terrorists, there would have been 2-3 statues erected in and around my village. But today hardly anybody notices me. Even a Tahshildar refused to set right the mistake in my caste certificate,” John told media.
John, who hails from Sagar Taluk of Shivamogga district, had joined the army on February 26, 1994 and took voluntary retirement on January 31, 2012. During this tenure he was selected to NSG and served for four years from 2007-11.
“We were stationed in Delhi and summoned to fight terrorists. It was the first time I came face to face with the terrorists. The only thought in our minds was to flush these elements out and send a message to the world that nobody can mess with India. I feel that we succeeded in that as there has been no such incident since then,” John recalls with pride.
However his mood turns sombre when he recounts his travails with the bureaucracy after his retirement. He recalls that after the operation he was felicitated by the Town Panchayat and other organisations, but is now running from pillar to post to get a government job.
At present John is working in a private finance company. His stays with parents, wife and two children and he runs the house through his pension and salary. The money is barely sufficient to meet the family expenses and medical bills of his parents.
“I had applied for the job of Sub Inspector of Excise Department and had applied for the caste certificate at the Nemmadi Kendra to be submitted to the KPSC. The KPSC found that my name (John P J) and that of my father (John P V) was swapped. KPSC gave me three days time to get the corrections done. When I requested Tahsildar of Sagar Taluk he not only refused to help me but even did not want to speak to me, despite some employees telling him that I was an NSG commando and Operation Black Tornado veteran,” John said.
Finally it was Upa Lokayukta Subhash B Adi who ensured that John got his certificate corrected. By then it was too late as the KPSC had already selected another candidate for the post. “KPSC secretary told me that I was qualified but could not get the post due to the certificate. He suggested me to go to approach KAT which I did. I hope KAT will come to my rescue,” he said.
Interestingly despite the media highlighting John’s plight, when he met the Upa Lokayukta, none of the elected representatives have approached him till date.