Treat George Cross on a par with PVC, Ashok Chakra, CM urged

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 31

Brahmi Devi (90), widow of George Cross recipient Naik Kirpa Ram, has urged Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to treat her husband’s medal on a par with the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) and the Ashok Chakra.

Brahmi Devi, a resident of Bhapral village in Ghumarwin tehsil of Bilaspur district, has written to the Chief Minister seeking the equivalence of the George Cross with the PVC and the Ashok Chakra, the highest peace-time award. “It really pains me to see that the George Cross, which has been equated with the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom (UK), has been placed below the PVC and the Ashok Chakra in India,” she laments.

It was after waging a five-year legal battle in a UK court that Brahmi Devi got back the George Cross, which was put up for auction in London in April 2014. She has attached with the letter to the Chief Minister the copies of the correspondence she had had with the United Kingdom Honours System.

Brahmi Devi urged the Chief Minister to direct the authorities concerned, especially the Sainik Welfare Board, to “rectify the error” so that proper equivalence could be maintained. “If this is not done, it will amount to an insult not only to my husband but also to all other valiant soldiers in the country who were honoured with the George Cross,” she says.

“It is strange that the equivalence of the gallantry awards of both pre-independence (including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) and post-independence eras, as proposed in the form of the Memorandum of May 13, 1996, is not in consonance with any precedent, order or notification issued by the Government of India or any other competent authority,” she has reasoned in her representation. She adds that the Sainik Welfare Board, which looks after the affairs of ex-servicemen, their wards and next of kith and kin, has not equated the George Cross with other medals, as per the norms.

Brahmi Devi has also attached a letter dated December 1, 2020, written by Pete Norton (GC), Chairman, Victoria Cross and George Cross Medal Association, stating that the George Cross is equivalent to the Victoria Cross. He has also attached a letter dated March 28, 2021, written by Rebecca Maciejewska, Chief Executive of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, pertaining to the George Cross taken from the official website of the UK Government.

She explains that the Victoria Cross was a military decoration, which was introduced for the first time by Queen Victoria on January 29, 1856, to recognise and honour the acts of valour during the Crimean War. The George Cross was instituted by King George-VI on September 20, 1940, with a desire to honour civilians.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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