In the first big step to recognise the contribution of freedom fighters in decades, the home ministry has decided to commission researchers to scan public and private sources of information across the country to put a name to the thousands of freedom fighters who had gone unrecognised and unsung.
“Clearly the number of freedom fighters who participated to struggle to get us independence is much more than we presently know… This is an attempt to document their contribution,” Ajay Maken, minister of state in the home ministry, said.
Maken, who chaired the first meeting of the reconstituted committee of freedom fighters recently, said the home ministry had taken up the project with the ministry of culture that would ask the Indian Council of Historical Research to execute the project.
The home ministry panel that met in Goa also agreed to establish 10 chairs in central universities in the name of eminent freedom fighters and approach the prime minister to establish a memorial in recognition of freedom fighters.
A home ministry spokesman said this was the first meeting of the committee outside Delhi. In future, the panel would meet every six months.
A home ministry statement said the panel also backed the government decision to reject requests for freedom fighters whose age at the time of participation in the struggle was less than 15 years.
The meeting also decided to formulate a Health Insurance Scheme by the health ministry for freedom fighters and ensure prompt medical treatment at places close to their residences.
Maken also announced that the railway ministry has conveyed its in-principle approval to allow freedom fighters to travel in Third AC of Rajdhani and non-executive category of Shatabdi trains.