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Akhilesh mistakes another martyr’s kin for war hero Abdul Hamid’s widow

A faux pas by organisers at a function to honour fallen soldiers from Uttar Pradesh meant former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav mistook one martyr’s widow for another’s.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2017 18:33 IST
Sudhir Kumar
Sudhir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Varanasi
Martyrs,Abdul Hamid,Param Vir Chakra
Kin of martyred soldiers with mementoes presented by Samajawadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yavav at a function in Azamgarh.(HT PHOTO)

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav ended up honouring a woman organizers had wrongly announced as the widow of one of India’s greatest war heroes – Param Vir Chakra winner Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid at a function to unveil statue of Kargil martyr Ramsamujh Yadav in Azamgarh.

The blooper left Hamid’s kin stunned and hurt.

On August 30, Akhilesh Yadav unveiled the statue of martyr Ram Samujh Yadav in Natthupur village in district. The families of 38 martyrs were invited to the event. Akhilesh honorured the kin of slain soldiers from Uttar Pradesh with angvastaram and mementoes.

When the compere announced the name of Abdul Hamid’s widow Rasoolan Bibi, a woman sitting among the kin of martyrs stood up. Akhilesh bowed before her in respect and reached out to her. He talked to her for about two minutes and honoured her.

The mistake came to light only after the event concluded. Jameel, the grandson of Hamid, read news about his grandmother being honoured by Akhilesh. He was stunned as neither he nor his grandmother attended the event.

“I had no idea about the event. Had I been invited, I would have attended the attended the event. I came to know about the event only from a newspaper report which states that my grandmother was honored even though we were not there,” he told HT.

When contacted Pramod Yadav who organized the event, said, “I went to the house of Saleem, another grandson of Abdul Hamid. I spoke to him on phone on August 28. Name of martyr’s wife Rasoolan Bibi was included in the list after due consent of Saleem.”

Pramod is the brother of Ramsamujh Yadav.

“Kin of 28 out of 38 bravehearts invited attended the event. List of names of soldier’s kin was with compere and he announced the name one after another. He made a mistake in identifying Rasoolan Bibi. I had no intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments or insult anyone,” he said.

It later emerged that the woman whom Akhilesh had honoured, is the widow of martyr Bhagwati Singh who laid down his life in the Sino-India was in 1962. Her name is Lalita.

Abdul Hamid’s family lives in Ghazipur dictrict’s Dhampur village where he was born.

On September 10, 1965, Abdul Hamid destroyed three Pakistani tanks in Cheema village in the Khem Karan sector with a recoilless gun mounted on a Jeep. He was killed in tank fire from the fourth before he could engage it.

The Param Vir Chakra award was announced less than a week after the battle where he sacrificed himself.

The award was presented to Rasoolan Bibi by the then President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan at the 1966 Republic Day parade.

First Published: Sep 02, 2017 18:16 IST