Freedom fighters in Chandigarh spurn Republic Day invite

January 25th, 2009 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 25 (IANS) Freedom fighters living in the union territory of Chandigarh have returned the administration’s invitation for the Republic Day function to protest its indifferent attitude to their grievances. There are around 32 families of freedom fighters living in Chandigarh and many of them have returned the invitation card of the administration.

Earlier, the visit of the Punjab Governor and Chandigarh administrator, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues to the houses of only three freedom fighters here Thursday also evoked a angry response from the freedom fighters’ community here.

“This visit of the administrator was politically motivated and a result of mounting pressure of media and other non-government organisations,” said Manish Sharda, one of the freedom fighters whose house was visited by the administrator.

Sharda, 94, returned the invitation card of the Republic Day function to the administrator when he visited his house.

“Such invitation cards are only a meaningless formality that the administration is following just out of compulsion as nobody can accompany us to the venue of the function, not even my son. I am a paralytic patient then how can I go there alone at this age,” Sharda told IANS Sunday.

The freedom fighters also submitted a memorandum to the administrator Thursday highlighting their needs and demands.

“There are many families of freedom fighters living in Chandigarh and the administrator visited only three homes. I am highly disappointed, as these dignitaries do not even have time to listen to our grievances,” said bed-ridden Guran Devi, widow of freedom fighter, Bhopal Singh.

H.C. Arora, an advocate who is leading this drive of the freedom fighters, told IANS Sunday: “We demanded that the administration provide two per cent reservation in government posts for the children and grand children of freedom fighters in Chandigarh, as similar reservation is available to them in Punjab.”

Currently, medical reimbursement is available only for the freedom fighters but they have demanded that it should be also available for their family members as available in other states, he said.

“Many freedom fighters have decided to boycott the Republic day celebrations of the administration and we have organised our own ceremony separately,” Arora added.

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