Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 18:
The harrowing experience undergone by kin of freedom fighter Laxmi Indira Panda has exposed how skin deep is our respect for freedom fighters and their descendantsnts other than merely using them as pawns for political gain.
The joy of being felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function to commemorate bi-centenary of Paika Rebellion was short-lived for freedom fighter Laxmi Indira Panda’s daughter-in-law Sujata Panda and son Surendra Panda as they lost their way at Bhubaneswar railway station and boarded different trains to reach Jeypore, their hometown.
While Surendra Panda and his son had boarded Hirakhand Express, Sujata Panda had boarded Utkal Express and was rescued by a co-passenger Debapriya Samal at Balasore railway station at around 3 am today while she was on the verge of committing suicide after having lost her way.
Co-passenger Samal handed her over to the Government Railway Police (GRP) at Balasore station.
“She had completely lost her mental balance. She was attempting to jump even after I was holding her. She was saying that she didn’t have money and had lost contact with her husband and what was the point in remaining alive,” said Samal talking to reporters at Balasore railway station.
“Two representatives of Modi government had come to our house to invite us. They had given some money for the onward journey expenses. Though they had promised to give return journey expenses nobody obliged us. I had to arrange Rs 3,000 from a village moneylender on interest prior to setting out for the journey,” said Sujata Panda, daughter-in-law of Indian National Army (INA) soldier Laxmi Indira Panda.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked officials to arrange for Sujata Panda’s return journey to her hometown Jeypore.
“We have contacted her son; he is on his way to Balasore. We will send them to Jeypore through a specially arranged vehicle. One of our officers will accompany them to Jeypore,” informed Pramod Das, Collector Balasore.