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02-18-2010, 06:11 PM #1
Bachchan adopts a 90-year-old freedom fighter
Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan was so moved by the strength and conviction of a 90-year-old freedom fighter fighting for her pension that he decided to take care of her for the next five years.The actor, who made the declaration at the IBN18 Network’s Citizen Journalist Awards, says all Gayatri Devi wants is her due.”I am moved by their plight. Particularly that of the 90-year-old lady and have announced that I shall take care of her pension for the next five years. She blesses me,” the 67-year-old posted on her blog bigb.bigadda.com.
“She has only that element of humanity left in her. She can barely walk. And she is old. And all she wants is her due – her pension – Rs.3,500 per month from the government.”Gayatri Devi had been on dharna on the streets of the capital for the past four years, fighting to get her freedom fighter’s pension restored. She was getting money from the Bihar government under the “Samman” pension scheme for freedom fighters since 1997 and has relevant documents to support her claim. But in 2002 her pension was unexpectedly stopped.
She was told that her name appeared in a list of fake freedom fighters. She approached many prominent leaders and got them to write applications on her behalf, but nothing happened. CNN-IBN filed an RTI on her behalf. Soon after, the Delhi government intervened. They moved Gayatri Devi into an old age home and granted her a destitute pension. But her battle will continue till the Bihar government restores her freedom fighter’s pension.