'Humiliated' by officials, freedom fighter sits on dharna during R-Day function | punjab | Hindustan Times
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'Humiliated' by officials, freedom fighter sits on dharna during R-Day function

punjab Updated: Jan 28, 2014 18:10 IST
HT Correspondent

Amid unfurling of the Tricolour, tableaux depicting development of the state and colourful cultural shows performed on the Republic Day function on Sunday, a nonagenarian freedom fighter felt humiliated by insensitive behaviour of administrative officials sat on dharna right in front of the stage.

This happened when chief guest social justice and empowerment minister Dhani Ram Shandil was addressing the gathering.

"I would have never gone there. I had received an invitation from the deputy commissioner and what I got was humiliation,"said Hoshiar Singh Thapa, 92, who took on the British rule in India, while serving Subhash Chandra Bose's the Indian National Army (INA).

"See the height of arrogance senior police officials threatened to put me behind the bars if I don't move out,"said Thapa, expressing his anguish and pain.

Thapa, who had come to attend the Republic Day function, was stopped by policemen at the entry to the venue. Not considering his age, the vehicle in which he had come with his son was not given entry to the venue.
"Despite being told that I am a freedom fighter, they forced me to walk up to the stage,"alleged Thapa.
However, the humiliation didn't end here, when Thapa inquired about his seat, a police official told him that there was no special arrangement for him and pointed towards a corner.

"They were behaving as if I am an alien. One of them pointed towards a corner and asked me to sit there,"alleged Thapa.

Thapa had quietly taken his seat but couldn't hold when Shandil in the middle of the speech started singing praises on freedom fighters.

One of the eldest freedom fighter of the region, Thapa sat in front of the stage peacefully protesting against the humiliation meted out to him.

"We struggled against the British rulers. I never ever had thought that one day I would have to struggle against our own government,"said Thapa.

"Don't judge us by our age, we never accept this dictatorship. We know how to fight for our self-esteem and dignity, he added.

Despite repeated efforts by police and chief parliamentary secretary Neeraj Bharti, Thapa continued with his protest, demanding the deputy commissioner to speak to him. Meanwhile, Shandil, who also holds the portfolio of sainik welfare minister, intervened into the matter and tried to facify the freedom fighter, while admitting the mistakes committed by police and administrative officials.

Thapa was escorted with full honour to the state and was also given a seat by the side of the chief guest.
"The administration should respect the freedom fighters. This is not the way the administration to behave with any citizen,"said Shandil.