(This article is originally published by the Print)
The grave of Brigadier Mohammad Usman, the highest ranking official to die in action during the first India-Pakistan war in 1947-48, has been damaged, allegedly by miscreants.
The grave is located in south Delhi’s Batla House Qabristan near Jamia Millia Islamia.
Known as ‘Naushera ka Sher’ (the Lion of Naushera), Brigadier Usman led the 50 (Independent) Parachute Brigade which famously recaptured Jhangar and Naushera — two strategic locations in Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan in 1948.
Brigadier Usman’s funeral was attended by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, President Dr Rajendra Prasad, Governor General C. Rajagopalachari, and many other cabinet ministers.
Although it is not known when or by whom the grave was damaged, residents said the cemetery is not secure given that both entrance and exit gates are open 24×7 and an entire side of the premises is open to the Jamia Metro Station and main road.
Jamia University’s PRO Ahmad Azeem said the university is not responsible for maintaining the graves but only the graveyard.
A professor from the university associated with graveyard maintenance told ThePrint that a private fund was set up to take care of the graveyard.
Army sources told the matter, which is a “protocol and emotional issue” for the force, is being looked into at the highest level.
Asked if there are plans to shift the remains to the Army Cantonment as suggested by some, sources said the immediate concern was the repair of the graveyard. Any other issue will be decided in time.