The family of the highest war-time gallantry award winner, honorary captain Karam Singh, has decided to sell the medal to make two ends meet and shore up its finances.
The Barnala family, whose son received the award in 1950, has claimed that the Central and the state governments have failed to provide adequate financial help to the family over the years and that they were thus compelled to sell the prime memorabilia.
Paramjit Singh, the elder son of Karam Singhm told HT that even the family of Sarabjit Singh, a prisoner murdered in a Pakistani jail, was accorded more financial help and status by the governments.
"We are a joint family and have been struggling for the basics. This apathy is hurtful and we are forced to endure poverty. My father died in penury in 1993," he added.
Pointing to a photograph of his father receiving the award from independent India's first president, Dr Rajendra Prasad, he claimed that the family has not even been provided any compensation. He added that the family was surviving on whatever little income it could generate through agriculture.
"We have made several representations at all levels demanding government job to at-least one of the eligible persons of our joint family. We have received no response. Our pleas for financial assistance in the form of a petrol pump, an LPG gas agency or a plot of land have rejected on the argument that there was no such policy when my father was given the award," he alleged.
He also claimed that district administration officials were not willing to renew the licence of a revolver given to his father with the award.
"I have been suffering with a lever ailment for over seven years. I want to hand over the weapon to younger ones in the family, who can take care of this memory of my father. Even this is not being allowed."
About Karam Singh
Karam Singh, the second Indian to be bestowed the Paramvir Chakra, was presented the award on January 26, 1950, by the nation's first president Dr Rajendra Prasad. He was honoured for his role in the battle of Tithwal as a Lance Naik in the army, during the Indo-Pak war of 1948 in Jammu and Kashmir.