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Widow of George Cross awardee gets Au 12K shock.

A PRE- TRIAL settlement by the High Court of London in favour of Brahmi Devi, widow of pre- Independence gallantry medal winner Naik Kirpa Ram, has come as nothing less than a shock for her.

The court has asked the poor woman to deposit Au 12,000 ( about ` 10 lakh) to get the George Cross back which was stolen in 2002 from her house located in Bhapral village in Himachal Pradesh's Bilaspur district.

The soldier, part of Frontier Force Rifles of the British Indian Army, was posthumously awarded the medal for " most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work" in 1946 by the then Viceroy, Field Marshal Lord Wavell.

Brahmi Devi ( 81) was shocked and confused after she received a phone call from her lawyer about the medal settlement.

" I am a poor widow living on a meagre pension amount.

How can I pay this amount? This medal along with some warm clothes, blanket and ` 1,000 in cash was stolen from my house. I had reported the matter to the police... This is the remembrance of my late husband. I want to get it back," she said.

Surinder Thakur, a Shimlabased lawyer who got a copy of the settlement from London, said December 31, 2013 has been fixed as the deadline to pay the amount and till then the medal will remain in the custody of the Metropolitan Police.

" The amount of Au 12,000 will be paid to the current owner Ashok Nath as its cost and expenses. We will request our High Commissioner based in London to get the medal back," Thakur said.

A case related to the ownership was pending in High Court of London. The medal owner Ashok Nath, NRI and former Indian Army officer had claimed he purchased the medal from a Delhi shop by paying Au 4,000.

Earlier the Himachal Pradesh police on December 1, 2009 had succeeded in halting the auction of George Cross Medal.

Naik Kirpa Ram of the Frontier Force Rifles was posthumously awarded the medal by the then viceroy Lord Wavell

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jun 10, 2013
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