Veteran freedom fighter Janardhan Prabhu (82), from Moodbidri who received an invitation to President APJ Abdul Kalam’s banquet for freedom fighters at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Aug 9, ahead of Independence Day celebrations, was left stranded thanks to the incorrigible co-ordination of the government.
Prabhu had considered himself lucky to receive the invitation.
But today he is bitter for having missed the bus (or train, to be precise) to the prestigious event.
Weeks ago the district administration had received a communication from the government to identify a couple of veteran freedom fighters to represent the state in the presidential banquet.
The district administration had shortlisted three freedom fighters and zeroed in on Prabhu who was found physically fit to make the strenuous journey by train to New Delhi.
A photo copy of his biodata and other documents were faxed to a senior government functionary identified as Vasundhara.
‘‘The government endorsed our recommendation and Vasundhara while directing us to reserve train tickets had obtained the telephone number of Janardhan Prabhu,’’ sources informed. Tickets, including the return ticket, were reserved free of cost by ‘Samparka Kranthi’ train on July 29.
When Prabhu along with an escort Ratnakar .C. Moily, who was familiar with New Delhi, arrived at the Mangalore railway station on Aug 6, they were informed that the train services had been suspended.
‘‘The railways displayed sheer insensitivity by not informing Prabhu earlier,’’ alleges a relative of Prabhu.
A spokesperson for the railways expressing helplessness said it was the decision of the higher-ups.
The veteran freedom fighter returned to Moodbidri and contacted the chief whip in the Assembly and Moodbidri MLA Abhaychandra Jain and the government in the hope of securing an airline ticket to New Delhi.
But his hopes were dashed on learning that Vasundhara without verifying his departure had already flown to New Delhi. Rubbing salt on his wound, a senior officer in DPAR suggested that Prabhu fly to Delhi on his own.
‘‘After exhausting all avenues, Prabhu got in touch with us in the evening of Aug 8,’’ sources in the district administration said and added: ‘‘at this stage we could not do anything.’’
Thus Karnataka was not represented at the President’s banquet for freedom fighters.