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Veteran yanked off R-Day commentators list

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | January 25, 2004 22:18 IST
Last Updated: January 25, 2004 22:41 IST

When the Republic Day parade gets underway this year, the audience of All India Radio and television viewers will miss the voice of eminent Hindi commentator Jasdev Singh who has been taken off the duty chart by Prasar Bharti chief K S Sarma.

The 72-year-old veteran was part of the 15-member commentary team selected two months back for this year's Republic Day parade but was inexplicably taken off the duty chart leaving him feeling humiliated.

Two youngsters, whose names authorities are not willing to disclose, have taken his place.

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"We select a 15-member team of commentators, which is split into two parts. While one does commentary for radio, the other team takes care of television. Jasdev Singh was very much part of our team and even his security pass had been obtained. We do not know why he was taken off the duty chart," a senior radio official told rediff.com.

A shocked Jasdev Singh told rediff.com: "I was to be stationed at Rajpath in the President's enclosure along with (commentators) Komal G B Singh, Brig Chittaranjan Sawant and Sunit Tandon. I have been doing the Republic Day commentary from this very spot every year since 1963."

In 1985, former President Giani Zail Singh honoured Jasdev Singh with the Padma Shri.

Recipient of the International Olympic Order, Jasdev has dashed off an angry letter to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad protesting against the arbitrary manner in which his name was deleted from the list of commentators.

Prasar Bharati chief executive K S Sarma could not be contacted for his reaction.

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