One of the first winners of Param Vir Chakra, honorary captain Karam Singh, had died in penury. Today, his family is being forced to sell his medal just to keep the home fire burning.
On January 26, 1950, Singh became the second Indian to receive the nation’s highest war-time gallantry award for his role in the battle of Tithwal during the Indo-Pak war of 1948 as a Lance Naik of the army.
Pointing to a photograph of Singh, taken on the occasion with nation’s first president Dr Rajendra Prasad, his eldest son Paramjit Singh said, “We have been struggling for the basics. My father died destitute in 1993”.
The family, he said, has not been provided any compensation or financial help by the Centre or the state. “Our pleas for assistance in the form of a petrol pump, an LPG gas agency or a plot of land were rejected on the argument that there was no such policy when my father was given the award,” Paramjit said. Even their repeated requests for a government job for at least one person of the family fell on deaf ears.
To add insult to injury, the district administration officials were not willing to renew the licence of a revolver given to his father along with the award, said Paramjit.
“I have been suffering from a liver ailment for over seven years. I wished to hand over this weapon to the younger ones, who can preserve this memory of my father. Even this is not being allowed.”