By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Dec 21: There is no dearth of funds for Chief Minister’s Tarun Gogoi’s pet ‘yarn & blanket’ scheme. But when it comes to fulfilling genuine needs of freedom fighters and their families, the Congress government has been appallingly callous. So much so, that the 600-odd nogerian citizens have been compelled to take to the streets protesting the neglect.
The Asom State Freedom Fighters Association will stage a sit-in protest at Dighalipukhuripar on Tuesday, after it was denied permission to hold the demonstration at the Secretariat gate.
The association’s secretary Dijendra Mohan Sarma said that since several years now, freedom fighters have been pressing the government for identity cards.
“Without identity cards, it becomes difficult for us to avail of facilities we are entitled to at places like hospitals etc. We cannot carry the citation with us everywhere we go,” Sarma said.
The association also said the State government is also yet to release the amount earmarked for it in this year’s annual budget.
“Moreover, in 2011, the government had announced that it will set up Freedom Fighter Bhavans in every district. The project is being taken up only in three-four districts so far. The government had also committed a one-time fincial assistance to poor families of freedom fighters, but it has been shying away from fulfilling the promise,” Sarma said.
The association is also demanding 15 per cent reservation in government jobs for family members of the 1942 martyrs and freedom fighters’ families.
“One cannot imagine the pathetic plight of some 300 very poor families of freedom fighters. They are struggling to eke out their living. There is no assistance whatsoever from the government,” the association’s president Jatin Goswami told The Sentinel.
All the freedom fighters are in their 90s. “At this age, these people are compelled to go from pillar to post to press for their needs. They are not even sure how long they will live,” Goswami added.