Param Vir Chakra awardee Abdul Hamid’s grandson has alleged former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav felicitated another woman in name of the 1965 war hero’s widow Rasoolan Bibi in Azamgarh on August 30.
Jameel Alam said the organiser, Pramod Yadav, did not invite Bibi but her name was announced from the stage. He added both he and his grandmother were at home — in Ghazipur district —on August 30, so there was no way Bibi could have been felicitated.
The organiser called it a “confusion” and said the person compering the show did not know Bibi was absent and thus announced her name.
Pramod said Lalita Devi, the widow of Bhagwati Singh who died in the 1962 India-China war, received the award in the melee. Hamid was awarded Param Vir Chakra, the country’s highest gallantry award, posthumously, for exemplary courage in the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
Azamgarh is the Lok Sabha constituency of Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav. Pramod, who claimed he has been organising this programme for the last 17 years to honour soldiers who died on duty, had invited Akhilesh to unveil the statue of his brother, Ram Samujh Yadav, who died in the Kargil war.
Alam said he learnt from someone that another war widow had been felicitated in Bibi’s name. “Later, I read in newspapers and watched a video clipping: my grandmother’s name was announced on stage but another woman was felicitated.’ He added Bibi, 95, was not even invited. Alam said he raised the issue with Pramod when he called him up on Friday. “I believe every public representative in Azamgarh, Ghazipur and adjoining districts knows our family and recognises Rasoolan Bibi. I told Pramod Yadav that it was unfair…besides the former CM, there were ex-ministers and MLAs on stage, and none of them pointed out the anomaly.’’
Pramod claimed to have gone to a petrol pump the family owns in Ghazipur to invite Alam’s brother, Saleem. “Since he (Saleem) was not there, I gave the card to a staff member and spoke with Saleem over the phone and was assured that Bibi would be present at the event.”
He claimed Saleem reassured him again two days before the event. Pramod said Bibi’s name was put on the list of nearly 40 kin of soldiers who were honoured on August 30.