Struggle continues for real fighters

While fake ones pay agents to become a part of the history of Independence struggle

Yet, the tag of “freedom fighter” hangs dubiously on a number of people, branded as “fake”. Many such fighters have emerged in the past few years to enjoy government facilities. While this can be attributed to the unholy nexus between agents, fake freedom fighters and a few officials of the deputy commissioner’s office, there are many genuine fighters left in the lurch.

Here’s a classic case of neglect: A Gandhian has been running from pillar to post for the past 37 years to get a site allotment. As the State Government announces an increase in pension and facilities for freedom fighters, the case of D L Madhegowda stands apart. His ordeal to get the site which was allotted to him by the City Improvement Trust Board (CITB) started in 1973.

Madhegowda, an associate of noted freedom fighter S Kariappa from Kanakapura, was allotted a site in Banashankarai 2nd stage at a cost of Rs 7,000. 

However, following recommendations made by CITB’s engineering department that the place would require an additional investment of Rs 2,500 since it was in a low-lying area, Madhegowda requested for a change in the site allocation.

This was the beginning of the record delay, which has led to 37 years of running from pillar to post.

The matter has now reached the Lokayukta seeking a probe into the issue after the Bangalore Development Authority maintained that the money taken for site allocation was refunded in 1981. This was disputed by Madhegowda’s son Lingegowda, who is an advocate.

“I obtained the relevant documents under RTI and found that the signature on the receipt was not my father’s,” he said and added that he has lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta stating that the signature was forged.

The family had also moved the High Court in 2008 challenging the denial of allocation and the Court had directed to consider the application. Even letters by the Chief Minister’s secretariat (dated July 14, 2007), officer on special duty to the Chief Minister (October 5, 2006) and Law Minister S Suresh Kumar (June 24, 2009) to the BDA has failed to make an impact.

Even a letter by noted freedom fighter H S Doreswamy requesting the Chief Minister, has not been of any help.

Fake freedom fighters

The State and the Central governments have framed schemes where monthly honourarium of around Rs 10,000 is disbursed to freedom fighters. A committee at the DC office receives applications and conducts inquiries before sanctioning benefits.

In many cases, some individuals born around 1947 or after 1947 get a certificate from genuine freedom fighters stating they served in prisons during the freedom movement. They approach agents who manage some officers at the DC’s office and ensure that their names are included in the list. The agents charge between Rs 3,000 and 5,000 to get the name included in the list, said sources in the DC office.

Many such freedom fighters are aged around 60. Of the total number of freedom fighters, only 10 per cent of them are genuine.

Bangalore Urban District deputy commissioner M K Ayyappa told Deccan Herald: “I am not aware of such nexus. I will definitely take action if it comes to my notice. The district administration will delete names of fake freedom fighter.”

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