Value of gallantry award Ashok Chakra

Nahan (Himachal Pradesh), Jan 30 : The family of late Sergeant Dev Raj Singh Thakur, who chased and caught Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse on this very day at Birla House in Delhi over six decades ago, lives in penury in this Himachal Pradesh town.

The family has been demanding a government job for a kin of gallantry award winner Thakur for over a decade as there is no breadwinner in the family.

“The state government has not recognised his bravery act. Even the promise to provide job to a family member of Thakur as a special case has been turned down by the government,” Sumitra Thakur, daughter-in-law of the gallantry winner, told media Monday.

She said she met Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in 2010 and pleaded the case of one of her two sons for a state government job. Dhumal assured her that her eldest son would be considered for employment as a special case.

“Five months back I got a communication from the state secretariat saying there was no scope for the appointment of my son,” said 54-year-old Sumitra, a widow.

Of Thakur’s three sons, the eldest one passed away in 2005 while the other two don’t live in Himachal.

Sumitra said Thakur, who was awarded the Ashok Chakra (Class II), had died in May 1987 without any recognition.

“Even in 2008, the government had promised to provide a job to a family member and sought the entire record of Thakur. But it didn’t take any call,” she added.

Thakur, who lost his mental balance during his service in the Indian Air Force, was sent on retirement. He was subsequently admitted to a mental hospital in Amritsar in Punjab where he remained for 14 years.

Till his death, Thakur was getting a monthly pension from the central government.

The Sainik Welfare Board office in Nahan said Thakur was awarded the gallantry award in 1952 for nabbing Godse by the country’s first president. He was on duty at the time of tragedy.

Maj. Yograj Chauhan, the board’s deputy director, said there was no provision for job for the award winner’s grandchildren. “Only the award winner’s widow or dependent children can claim for the government job,” he added.

The father of the nation was shot from close range by Godse, a Hindu nationalist, while he was proceeding for the prayer meeting at Birla House Jan 30, 1948.

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