In Bhopal, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will honour martyrs and open a war memorial today, the mother of a soldier killed in 1994 alleges that policemen demanded bribe to look for her son’s medals, stolen two years ago.
Nirmala Devi’s son, Captain Devashish Sharma, died in anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir and was awarded the Kirti Chakra and Virata Chakra medals.
The medals were stolen in October 2014 by burglars who broke into Nirmala Devi’s home in the Madhya Pradesh capital when she was out.
Three months after she filed an FIR or police complaint, she says, the police contacted her, only to make a demand.
“I had gone to the Bharat Bhawan and my house was locked. When I returned, burglars had broken into my home and stolen the medals. A police officer started demanding what he called processing fees to look into my case. But I said no,” the 65-year-old told NDTV.
After her story emerged in the media this week along with reports of the prime minister’s visit, state Home Minister Bhupindra Singh visited her and assured all possible help.
Nirmala Devi’s case will be reopened, Mr Singh told reporters.
“We will find out which police official demanded money from her and will take action against him,” he said, adding that he would also discuss with Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar the possibility of duplicate medals for the desperate mother.
After the reassurance, Nirmala Devi said she was filled with hope that she would finally get back the medals. “I will today go to the Lala Parade ground to listen to our PM,” she declared, beaming.
Nirmala Devi’s son Devashish was a doctor with the 26 Punjab Regiment when he was killed. He was 25.