Pune: Ex-Servicemen Forum Petitions PM Modi to Nominate Army Veteran Lt Col Suresh Patil (Retd) to Rajya Sabha

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Pune, 23rd February 2024: Justice for Jawans, a prominent pan India Ex-Servicemen Forum based in Pune, has submitted a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the nomination of seventy-six-year-old army veteran Lt Col Suresh Patil to the Rajya Sabha under the Social Workers category.

The petition highlights the widespread endorsement from Ex-Servicemen organizations in Pune District and Maharashtra, supporting the nomination of Lt Col Suresh Patil. To emphasize their plea, the forum conducted a press conference at Pune Patrakar Bhavan in Navi Peth, shedding light on the role Lt Col Patil could play in representing the three million retired soldiers.

The petition outlines Lt Col Patil’s distinguished career, emphasizing his international recognition as an environmentalist and his nomination for the prestigious Padma Award. Over the last three decades, he has been acknowledged with numerous National and International Awards for his commendable work in Dam desilting, Soil conservation, and environment protection.

Having been commissioned into the Indian Army in 1968, Lt Col Patil’s valor and exceptional leadership during the 1971 Indo-Pak war earned him critical acclaim. Despite being wounded in enemy shelling, he continued his dedicated service until his retirement in August 1993. Lt Col Patil’s military assignments spanned various theatres of war, including the Desert-Barmer, High Altitude-Leh, and Jungles of Assam, along with international exposure as the NCC Youth Exchange Programme coordinator to Canada.

His foray into social service began on the advice of a senior officer, leading to the establishment of three pan India organizations: Justice for Jawans, Chhatrapati Shivaji Muslim Brigade, and Green Thumb, all aimed at nation building. The retired army officer has been a staunch advocate for the welfare of Ex-Servicemen, with a particular focus on war widows and veterans.

Justice for Jawans, functioning as an NGO, gained national prominence when Lt Col Patil played a crucial role as a whistle-blower in the “Ex-President’s Army Land Grab” case in Khadki. His efforts led to the former President relinquishing the land back to the army, and the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment granted uniformed personnel the right to vote at their place of posting.

Through the Green Thumb Environment Protection Group, Lt Col Patil addressed the national water crisis by rejuvenating and desilting Khadakwasla Dam, involving people and farmers in the process. His environmental initiatives extended to the development of bird sanctuaries and Nullah Parks across the country.

“We strongly feel that there is a need for an army veteran in Rajya Sabha, and Lt Col Patil is an outstanding candidate with qualities that make him an asset for the nation and a strong voice for Ex-Servicemen. We highly recommend his nomination as a befitting tribute to the Indian Army and its dedicated soldiers,” stated Feroze Mulla, the petitioner.

The petition underscores the potential of the 51,000 Ex-Servicemen retiring annually as a valuable resource for nation-building activities. The Ex-Servicemen Forum urges the Prime Minister to actively consider Lt Col Suresh Patil for this prestigious position, recognizing his exceptional contributions to the nation and the environment.