Kerala Police Department’s Apathy to the family of a Gallantry Award Winner


Richard D’Souza
Kemmannu News Network, 25-01-2021 14:05:54


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Udupi : Vijayalakshmi Amma, 82-year-old woman from Koyilandi (Kozhikode District) is the widow of the late Balakrishnan Nair, a sub-inspector of police who served the Kerala Police Department in Kasaragod district. Mr. Nair had secured President of India’s Gallantry Award for his extraordinary bravery. The award consists of a gold medal along with a cash incentive, which started as twenty-five rupees per month later got revised to one hundred rupees. Vijayalakshmi Amma has been fighting for the last four decades to secure this monthly allowance from the Kerala Police Department. Having failed to get justice, she has now approached the Human Rights’ Foundation of Udupi to get redressal.

Addressing a press meet at Vaikunta Baliga College of Law, Kunjibettu here on Monday, January 25, Ravindranath Shanbaug, President of Human Rights Foundation, Udupi said that 

 

Balakrishnan Nair graduated in 1951 and immediately got selected for the post of sub inspector in Bundar Police Station at Mangalore. Later, he worked in Hampanakatta and Badiadka stations. As he was in Kasaragod at the time of reorganisation of states, he came under the Kerala Police force.

The conferment of Gallantry Award

 In the year 1961, while working in Manjeshwar station, he got information about an inter-state dacoit planning to rob a house in Badiadka. He rushed to the spot along with the police informer, Mr. Mohammad, to nab the dacoit. The cornered dacoit shot with his pistol, which hit Mohammad in the eye. Unmindful of the danger to him from the dacoit’s pistol, the unarmed Nair, rushed forward, caught the culprit, and put in police lock up. Immediately thereafter he carried, in his vehicle, a profusely bleeding Mohammad to a hospital in Mangaluru. This timely intervention helped save the life of Mohammad, although the injured eye could not be saved.

Police recovered stolen booty from the notorious criminal Kittu gathered in six instances of robbery.   This act of bravery of a young policeman and his help to hospitalise Mohammad won accolades from the local people and the police department. These prompted the conferment of Gallantry Award from the President of India at the next Republic Day on Balakrishnan Nair.


 

Financial Part of the Award

Government of India has a set of rules governing the cash that goes with the Gallantry Awards given to soldiers and police personnel. The recipient gets a certain amount of cash every month along with his/her monthly salary. Post retirement, the person continues to get this money along with his/her monthly pension. After the demise of the person his widow would get the amount along with family pension.

Balakrishnan Nair retired from service in 1981 after serving police department for 30 years. From 1961 until 1975 he was getting twenty-five rupees as cash award every month. Thereafter the amount was raised to one hundred rupees until his death in 1988. His widow, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi, has been staying in Surathkal from that time onwards. She was eligible to get this special cash award along with the family pension. However, to get this money, she had to travel to Koyilandi, submit application at police station , get the cheque for Rs.100, encash the cheque in a local bank and return to Surathkal. Her request to send the amount to her bank account in Surathkal was not agreed to by the police department in Kerala. With no other option than travelling to Koyilandi, Vijayalakshmi Amma, made it a point to go once in five or six months to Koyilandi and collect the money. This continued for 18 years.

 

 

Information obtained under RTI

In 2014, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi contacted a Kozhikode-based RTI activist who said that the special cash payment cannot remain the same and there would be periodic revisions. Under RTI when information was sought from the Union Home Ministry, she got the information that the monthly instalment was raised in 1997 from Rs.100 to Rs.200, and in 2013, it was raised to Rs.3000. But Mrs. Vijayalakshmi continued to receive only Rs.100. Even this was not received by her for the past two years !  She decided to approach court for redressal.

With the help of a lawyer in Kozhikode, she sent a legal notice to the secretary in the Home Ministry of Kerala Government in 2015. Failing to get a reply from there even after one year, a legal notice was sent to Union Home Ministry in November 2016. Within ten days the Union Home Ministry responded by sending a letter to the Director General of Kerala Police asking to settle all dues of Mrs. Vijayalakshmi immediately.

The Office of the Director General, Kerala wrote to Mrs. Vijayalakshmi asking some irrelevant questions like: from which unit did your husband retire? which office approved the retirement benefits etc. She had already provided all the details and a copy of pension order in her earlier correspondence. On getting the letter from the Office of Director General of Police, she again sent the relevant documents by registered post.

Even four years after this Mrs. Vijayalakshmi has not received the eligible amount of money. She continued to send reminders to them, however, to no avail.

She had paid a lawyer to file a petition in an appropriate court to recover the arrears.   She is not aware of the status of her case, in fact she does not have any details in this regard. She is not sure even if  her lawyer has approach any court !

This super senior person has lost all faith in government departments as well as in judiciary. She has approached the Human Rights Protection Foundation of Udupi asking if there is any other method to seek justice. Her rightful claim now amounts to more than five lakh rupees.

The Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi has reliably learnt that the award money has been increased to Rs.6000/- per month recently. The Foundation has approached several Human Rights Groups in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode seeking their assistance to get justice.

 

Veena daughteer of Vijayalakshmi Amma, Vijayalakshi Amma were present during the press meet. 

 

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