UTTAR PRADESH government has turned down Azamgarh district administration’s recommendation to confer the status of freedom fighter on Colonel Nizamuddin, who claims to be 116-year-old and having served as driver and guard to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The government said Nizamuddin didn’t submit any documentary evidence or concrete proof to corroborate that he had participated in the freedom struggle.
Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Nizamuddin had shared stage with BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a rally in Varanasi. Modi had touched his feet then.
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The Azamgarh administration sent its recommendation —-to confer the status of freedom fighter on Nizamuddin —- to the state government four months ago. The recommendation included reports from intelligence, police, villagers and also village head.
A photocopy of identity card of Azad Hind Fauz (Indian National Army) prepared in the name of Nizamuddin was also attached along with some more documents. The recommendation had mentioned Nizamuddin’s age as “above 100 years”.
“State government rejected our recommendation on technical ground as Nizamuddin could not provide documents needed to confer status of the freedom fighter,” said district magistrate, Azamgarh, Suhash L Y.
Nizamuddin hails from Dhakwa village in Mubarakpur area in Azamgarh. He lives there with his wife Ajbul Nisha and youngest son Sheikh Akram. His two other sons, Akhtar Ali and Anwar Ali, are employed in Saudi Arabia and Bombay, respectively. His two daughters are married.
“It is unfortunate that the state government is not believing the reports its own departments. I have submitted the identity card of Azad Hind Fauz issued in the name of my father. We could not understand what more proof does state government need to declare that my father participated in the freedom struggle,” said Akram.
Akram said that his father had joined Azad Hind Fauz after serving for an year in the British Army in Singapore.
“My father was a driver and also the bodyguard of Netaji. He does not have any other proof because, while staying in Burma, Netaji had directed all his associates to burn their documents before returning to India. It was following Netaji’s directions that my father initially did not even disclose his identity (as a member of Azad Hind Fauz). However, after 2002 people started knowing about him,” he said.
Akram claimed that in 1944, “my suffered a bullet injury in his back while guarding him (Bose)” in the jungles of Burma. “It was Netaji who gave my father the name Colonel Nizamuddin. Here in the village, everyone calls him Saifuddin,” Akram said, adding that his father first returned to his native place in Azamgarh in 1955 and later brought his family from Rangoon in 1969.
Meanwhile, the district administration has prepared memoirs on the basis of information provided by Nizamuddin, which would soon be sent for publication and kept at a library, said the district magistrate.
“The memoirs will be containing details about my father’s days of freedom struggle and also interesting information about Netaji,” said Akram.