The memory of a martyred daredevil Lance Naik of the Indian army is seeking appropriate honour. The parents of Gopal Singh Bhadoriya, Munim Singh Bhadoriya, 59 and Jayshree have decided to return the prestigious Shaurya Chakra awarded to their late son which was sent to them via courier.
The Shaurya Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice. Gopal Singh Bhadoriya was martyred in February 2017 in Kashmir. A brave soldier Gopal Singh was earlier honoured with the Vishisht Seva Medal for his part in the operations at Taj Hotel during the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks also.
Munim Singh, the father of late Gopal Singh did not accept the gallantry award which was home-delivered at his residence at Bapunagar, Ahmedabad. He demanded that anything less than an investiture at Rashtrapati Bhavan would be demeaning to the memory of the martyred. He said the martyred deserved it.
Munim Singh and Gopal Singh were in the news for all the wrong reasons post his death. Gopal Singh’s wife Hemavati and the parents of Gopal Singh were locked into an acrimonious battle over Gopal Singh’s service benefits and the award.
The parent’s maintained that Hemavati had separated from Gopal Singh In 2011 but the divorce decree was pending. They moved a city civil court objecting to the grant of any service benefits to Hemavati. The conferment of the Shaurya Chakra was put on hold due to this.
Ultimately, after the parties concerned reached a settlement in 2021, the court directed the central government authorities to grant the gallantry award posthumously to Gopal Singh. It also ordered all the benefits associated with the award to be given to the parents. The city civil court ruled that both parties get an equitable share of service benefits including pension and ex-gratia payments.
Munim Singh Bhadoriya cites a judgment of the Himachal Pradesh high court which indicates that gallantry medals should be conferred only at Republic Day or Independence Day functions.
Bhadoriya continued to insist on receiving the medal from the President when the defence ministry informed him that the Director General Signals is entrusted with the responsibility of giving the medal and the certificate of honour, and the Signals Officer in Chief would preside over the ceremony.
“I did not open it and returned it,” Munim Singh said about the package received. “I am really pained with this development. It was not a mere parcel for me. It was my heart, my child’s achievement.”