When a memento is a bitter memory

Kin of slain soldiers given souvenirs, only to be taken back

Transport minister R Ashoka (now also Home Minister) handed over mementos and citation to the one soldier and nine soldiers’ relatives that day. No sooner the mementos were handed over to them, M S Subramanya of V-Care Ex-servicemen Trust here, who had been entrusted with the task of distributing the mementos, reportedly took them back saying that they would be returned after engraving the names (perhaps of the slain soldiers or their kith and kin).

And a good year after, while the 61st R-Day is being observed on Wednesday, the mementos are still to be returned to them.

The ‘recipients’ were Dr Dakshayini, wife of Lt Col. N S Yogesh (Army Medal for Gallantry), Salma Shafiq, wife of Maj Shafiq Mohammed Khan Ghori, Nirupa Madappa, wife of Maj Ganesh Madappa (Shaurya Chakra), Lakshmi, mother of Sepoy Hema Chandu, Ellammal, mother of Sepoy S Vasu, Sarala, wife of Nayak B N Kirankumar, Saroja, mother of Sepoy A P Prashanth and Jyothi Bai, wife of  Sepoy Sakriya Nayaka.

However, after many attempts, Lakshmi managed to collect the memento. Out in open
When the relatives of one of the recipients complained to the Office of the Sainik Welfare, the authorities found that none of the recipients had received the mementos.

In September 2010, a complaint from two of them was forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner, who is also the Chairman of District Sainik Welfare Board. A reminder was sent in November.

Recently, the Deputy Commissioner replied, stating that Subramanya has been told to return the mementos before January 24. When Deccan Herald did a reality check on the even of the Republic Day, none had received it. “We didn’t asked for the memento. And, when they forced us to accept the honour, they shouldn’t have insulted us,” said one of them.

Learning from the unsavoury experience, the District Board of Sainik Welfare has now entrusted the task to honour five ex-servicemen on Wednesday to the office of Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare and Re-settlement Board.

Minister yet to keep his promise

When the chief guest on the occasion, Minister R Ashoka announced that the KSRTC would issue free bus passes to war widows and the relatives of slain ex-servicemen, little did the latter know that it was not going to be a reality, any time soon.

Following the announcement, the office of Divisional Controller, KSRTC, Mysore urban division asked and got from the office of Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare and Resettlement a list of eligible beneficiaries in Mysore district. When there was no further progress, nine reminders were sent to the minister at Vidhana Soudha and Managing Director, KSRTC. The MD, KSRTC replied that the matter would be followed up.

One more letter was sent to the minister in September 2010. The reply has been resounding silence.


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