Kolkata: The widow of slain CRPF personnel Bablu Santra Thursday urged both India and Pakistan to hold talks instead of escalating tensions.
She also urged the Narendra Modi government to ensure the safe release of Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan on Wednesday.
Mita Santra, widowed on February 14 in a suicide bomb attack on a CRPF convoy that claimed 40 lives including that of her husband, said she was not worried about criticism on social media over her anti-war stand.
“We should give dialogue a chance instead of war that will lead to loss of so many more lives,” Santra told PTI while urging the government of India to make all efforts to ensure Varthaman’s return.
“I urge our government to engage with that of Pakistan to get back Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman safely,” she added.
Varthaman was captured following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control in which a Pakistani F-16 jet was downed.
The IAF also lost a MiG 21 Bison jet being flown by Varthaman.
Apart from the loss of human lives, war leaves an indelible mark on economic and social front affecting the people of countries involved, Santra said.
It is natural that the armed forces will have to go to war and make the ultimate sacrifice, but the Indian government must ensure their security, she said.
“I want security of the forces to be ensured. All the forces, be it the Army or the paramilitary like CRPF or ITBP, are of the government of India and it is the duty of the government to take necessary measures to ensure their security,” she said.
Santra said she was not bothered about social media trolls criticising her stand on war, adding that if one person has criticised her, ten others appreciated her approach.
Following the death of her husband in the car bomb attack on the CRPF convoy by Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pulwama, Santra had said that war should be avoided as it will snuff out the lives of many more on both sides of the border, leaving women widowed, mothers without sons and children without fathers.
“After February 14, nothing touches me. Anybody can say anything, I am not worried,” said the mother of a six-year-old girl, who has a masters degree in modern history and teaches in a private school.
However, she wondered if those criticising her had a family member serving in the armed forces.
“Sitting in their homes, some people are saying so many things, but do they have any of their family members in the Army, Air Force, Navy or paramilitary forces?” she asked.
Stating that she has been offered a compensatory job in the CRPF, Santra said she has not yet decided on taking it as the transferrable job will come in the way of taking care of her aged mother-in-law.
“I want a job in the West Bengal government as was promised by ministers who visited our house following my husband’s death,” she said.