Kerala Government’s War against a War Hero

published on December 5, 2009

War against a war hero
By Pradeep Pillai @ www.expressbuzz.com

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In December 1971 paratrooper N Madhavan Nair, his right foot blown off by a landmine and his left leg pierced by shrapnel, lay dying amidst the wounded on the Indo-Pak border in Rajasthan after his regiment captured the Nagi Post. He was evacuated after eight hours of agony.

He bravely bore three amputations on his right leg before being fitted with an artificial limb. But in the 35 years since, the Kerala Government has managed to do what the Pakistan army could not – bruise and batter him mentally, with attempts to deny him the 50 cents of land due to him under a special scheme.

Orders granting him land were issued in 1999, 25 years after he submitted his application, but the land never materialised.

Ten years on, the High Court has asked the State Government to stop its cat-and-mouse game. “We are still not sure whether the officials will oblige,” laments his advocate, J Jayakumar.

Successive governments and shameless officials have kicked this brave soldier around, but the sucker punch came from the present government which revoked the 1999 order after it discovered that his family owns 1.1 acres of land and he earns Rs 1.1 lakh pension. Benefits given by the Indian Army in appreciation of his service make him ineligible for other benefits in the eyes of the revenue officials! Officials kept lining up all available ammunition to deny this soldier his rights. They defied repeated court orders and contempt proceedings. “Collectorate officials even taunted me with comments such as ‘Here comes Mr Contempt’,” recalls Madhavan Nair, 67, who fought two wars and has 11 gallantry medals to his name.

Confronted with contempt of court proceedings, the State Government came up with a review petition seeking to quash the High Court Single Bench order asking it to assign him land immediately.

However the High Court dismissed the government’s petition, with a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S R Bannurmath and Justice A K Basheer observing that Madhavan Nair was being harassed.

The bureaucracy’s pettiness has not killed the spirit of the old soldier. Asked whether he regrets joining the army, he counters with, “Would I then send my son to the Army?” His son Jayan was a commando with 4 Para Regiment (Madhavan Nair served the same regiment) before opting for retirement.

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