Widow Of George Cross Winner Naik Kirpa Ram Forced To Pay £12K To Get Medal Back
The Huffington Post UK | Posted: 11/06/2013 10:56 BST | Updated: 11/06/2013 11:36 BST
World War II, George Cross, George Cross Medal, Indian Army, UK NEWS, UK News
The widow of an Indian George Cross winner has been told she must pay £12,000 to get back the medal that was stolen from her.
Brahmi Devi's husband Naik Kirpa Ram, who fought in the British Indian Army's Burma campaign in World War Two, was killed when a grenade he picked up detonated before he was able to throw it away to save his comrades.
Because the incident took place at his regimental camp near Bangalore and not in military action, Ram was awarded Britain's highest civilian award for gallantry by the Viceroy, Field Marshall Lord Wavell.
Brahmi Devi, 81, kept the medal as a memento in a trunk in her home until 2002 when a man posing as an Indian army officer persuaded her into signing a document that said she had sold it to him, the Telegraph reported.
Ms Devi contacted the police and when the medal was listed at London auction, India's High Commissioner intervened to precvent the medal from being sold on.
The High Court has ruled that the medal be returned to Ms Devi but that she must pay the costs, totalling an estimated £12,000, to the current owner, Ashok Nath, a former Indian Army officer, who said he bought the medal in Delhi.
However, Ms Devi lives on a pension of around 14,000 rupees (£180) per month and is unlikely she could raise such a figure on her own, so members of London's Indian community are helping as much as they can, the New Indian Express reported.
Her nephew, Surinder Thakur, said: "She is a pensioner and gets 14,000 rupees a month. Raising 10 lakhs (£12,000) will be a tough task for her but we are hearing a campaign by Indians in the UK has been launched to raise it."