99-yr-old freedom fighter on hunger-strike for pension
Ranchi: A 99-year-old freedom fighter and his 85-year-old spouse, who took part in Salt Satyagraha and Quit India Movement, Saturday sat on an indefinite hunger strike near the Raj Bhavan for securing freedom fighters' pension.
"We participated in Quit India Movement and Salt Satyagraha, and went to jail thrice, in Godda and Deogarh," Bhagaiya Ram and his wife Chamni told reporters.
"Even after receiving bail, we continued to take part in the Freedom struggle and were made accused in criminal case No 161/1945 (Emperor Vs Chedi Rout case). We were sent to the Dumka jail," Ram, who is from Heerakhunthari village in Godda district, said displaying documents.
Narrating their woes, Ram said he had submitted an application for freedom fighters' pension on July 21, 1981 to the then SDO, Godda.
"We had applied in the name of Chamni Devi, but the application was rejected."
Chamni Devi said their plea for old-age pension was also turned down as they did not have a BPL card which was required. "Our request for Indira Awas was also rejected on the same ground that we did not have a BPL card," she said.
The elderly couple said that they had made several applications for pension, but to no avail. "We want to live independently," they said.
According to the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension, 1972, a person imprisoned or detained during the Freedom movement was eligible to pension of Rs 3,000 per month, Jharkhand Senior Citizens' Association head Arun Kumar Pandey, who is
assisting the couple in their fight, said.