“Memento will not fill our stomach”

Muniyamma (56) who was awarded the Kuvempu Vidyamaana Prashasti  by Kuvempu Kalanikethan Trust in February does not sound very elated.  "Memento will not fill our stomach, but a government job can feed our family," she says. She is a resident of Konanakunte.

She is the milk-seller who helped police capture the LTTE members who took part in the conspiracy to assassinate former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

She says, the Government of Karnataka promised to reward her with Rs 10 lakhs in the year 1991, but she got only Rs 60000 since then. Her son also never got his promised job. She complains, "There is no one to take my family members to higher officials."

Muniyamma posing with the documents. Pic: Chetan Boray.

Muniyamma now suffers from hypertension and blood sugar problems. She says her  family cannot afford the medical expenses which amount to about Rs 1000 per month. Even today Muniyamma makes her living by selling milk.

Police officer Kempaiah was part of the investigating team to capture the LTTE members. He says, “During investigation we cross-checked who gave milk, news paper and other things in the area. So we came to know about Muniyamma, who sold milk in the neighborhood."

Kempaiah recounts when Muniyamma was questioned, she mentioned in one particular house, no resident stepped out of the house to take the milk from her. "They just show her a vessel and hid themselves behind the door or asked her to pour the milk into a vessel kept near the door", Kempaiah said. He says that Muniyamma mentioned all of a sudden they had stopped ordering milk even though they were at the same house. "Those leads helped us", explains Kempaiah.

K Nagesh. Pic: Chetan Boray.

She has four children, her elder son and daughter are married and settled. She is worried about the future of her younger son and daughter.

Her younger son K Nagesh, who has written 2nd PUC exam after a long gap says, " I have met T N Chaturvedi, (Former) Governor of Karnataka, to get my promised job on October 4th 2002. He has given a letter (on October 11 2002 ) and referred to The Director General and Inspector General Of Police, Nrupatunga Road. But these police officials say they will grant under some quota which they have not confirmed yet. "

Munniyamma’s family questions the government job that had been given to Mridula, wife of Ranganath. The house rented to the LTTE members belonged to Ranganath and his wife Mridula. Ranganath was covicted, however, Mridula was acquitted of all charges. She also got a job in the Police School as a teacher six years ago.

Muniyamma says, "For us, we have just a bundle of promises."

Her family is trying to meet Krishna Byregowda, Youth Congress President of the state to address their concerns

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