By: Mahesh Chander Sharma
Mandi (Dec 1): While the BJP government during its current tenure has been trying to glorify Himachal’s contribution in the Independence movement, a well-known freedom fighter’s descendents have been forced to directly approach the state high court to get right over his property.
Luxami Devi (74) of village Kathalag in Mandi district, a granddaughter of Late Sidhu Kharwara, who was a famous freedom-fighter from this area, has written a latter to the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh so that her long-pending case regarding the property is decided in her life-time. According to her, she was still visiting courts for the restoration of property of her grandfather, the claim of which had been allowed by the high court itself in 2008.
Sidhu Kharwara, a resident of Barsu village, was an active member of Gaddar Party, and was arrested and convicted in Mandi conspiracy case vide judgment dated 4-5-1917 for waging war against the British empire and sent to Port Blair Cellular Jail to serve a life sentence and his property (measuring 41-9-17 bighas) was confiscated to the state. Afterwards, Sidhu was declared as political sufferer by the government of Himachal but even after it was decided that properties of freedom fighters, which were seized, be restored to them, but his property was not restored to his legal representatives.
Sundru, daughter of Sidhu Kharwara, and his granddaughter Luxami approached the state government in 1987 for restoration of the property, but it was not restored. So they launched a legal proceeding against the government in the year 1998, which was allowed by various courts and the matter was finally decided in favour of the wards of Sidhu on September 29, 2008 by the high court. Sundru died at the age of 92 when the proceeding was pending before the high court. As the government did not take any action in the matter, an execution petition was filed before the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Mandi on 6-1-2009 for restoration of the property (41 bighas of land) or to give the market price, which was around Rs 4 crore. Following this, the government once against started contesting the claim.
The execution petition is still going on as the state has been objecting to even releasing the amount, which was deposited before it in the court, which amounts to around Rs 62 lakh. Fed up with endless litigation, now Luxami Devi has written a letter to Chief Justice Kurian Joseph to intervene in the matter and restore the property to her. The next date of hearing before the court of Civil Judge (senior division) has been fixed for 16-12-2010.