Captain Anshuman Singh’s Parents Question “Next Of Kin” Rule, Demand Its Revision

Captain Anshuman Singh's Parents Question 'Next Of Kin' Rule, Demand Its Revision

Captain Anshuman Singh was awarded the Kirti Chakra posthumously.

The parents of Captain Anshuman Singh, who died during a fire incident in Siachen in July last year, have demanded changes in the Indian Army’s next of kin (NOK) criteria for financial assistance to family members in case of a soldier’s death. Speaking to a news channel, Ravi Pratap Singh and his wife Manju Singh claimed that their daughter-in-law Smriti Singh left their home and now receives most of the entitlements after their son’s death. Mr Singh said the only thing left with them is a photo of their son “hanging on the wall”.

“The criteria set to NOK is not correct. I have also spoken to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh about this. Anshuman’s wife doesn’t live with us now, the marriage was just five months old and there is no child. We only have a photo of our son hanging on the wall with a garland on it,” Mr Singh told TV9 Bharatvarsh.

“That is why we want that the definition of NOK be fixed. It should be decided that if the wife of the martyr stays in the family, who has how much dependency,” he added.

Captain Singh’s mother said they want the government to revisit the NOK rules so that other parents don’t have to suffer.

What are the NOK rules?

Next of kin rule to a person’s closest relatives or legal representatives. The rules of the Army say that if something happens to a person in service, the ex-gratia amount is given to NOK. In simple language, it is just like a nominee in a bank.

When a cadet or officer joins the Army, his parents or guardians’ names are recorded in the NOK. When that cadet or officer gets married, under Army rules, the name of the person’s spouse is recorded as the person’s next of kin instead of the parents.

Captain Singh was posted with 26 Punjab as a medical officer in the Siachen Glacier area. On July 19, 2023, a short circuit led to a fire in an Indian Army ammunition dump around 3 am. Captain Singh saw a fibreglass hut engulfed in flames and immediately acted to save those trapped inside. He successfully rescued four to five individuals, however, the fire soon spread to a nearby medical investigation room.

Captain Singh went back into the blazing structure. Despite his efforts, he could not escape the inferno and was trapped inside before dying.

He was awarded the Kirti Chakra, India’s second-highest gallantry award, posthumously. Captain Singh’s wife Smriti and mother received the award from President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan on July 5.

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