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Sunday, Nov 28, 2021
Outlook.com
War Veterans

Heroes In Search Of A Plaque

They were part of the Indian National Army, fighting for Independence. Today, they are nobodies.

Heroes In Search Of A Plaque
Narendra Bisht
Heroes In Search Of A Plaque
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Ironically, Panda's name is included in a register of personnel who served in the Rani Jhansi Regiment of the INA. This list was prepared by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and approved by the Union cabinet in 1984. Also included in it are the names of INA stalwarts like Captain Lakshmi Sahgal who has also given a signed statement that Panda did serve with the INA. But 20 years on, this Oriya woman is part of a forgotten army, lost in the files of the freedom fighters' division housed within the walls of the MHA in Delhi.

For Panda, it has been an arduous trek all along. Speaking to Outlook, she said, "The Central government has done nothing for me after all that I have done for the country. Even the state government was giving me only Rs 300 a month as pension. It has now been raised to Rs 700. But I can't manage with that. For me, it's a question of survival. Which is why I have been reduced to washing dishes. I never thought I would end up like this. I never thought our government will treat a freedom-fighter so shabbily. But I am helpless and can only hope that the government grants me my pension." She wonders why her case is not being considered despite being issued a certificate that she served in the INA.

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