The police staff made Lakshamma the chief guest for Republic Day celebration at the station as a gesture of gratitude.

A Republic for all 75-year-old cleaner hoists tricolour at Bengaluru police station
news Human interest Friday, January 27, 2017 - 15:48

For Lakshamma, Thursday morning began as any other day would. The 75-year-old has been a cleaner at at the Kumaraswamy Layout police station for 23 years now, and arrived on Thursday expecting to carry out her regular cleaning duties.

But much to her surprise, the police personnel at the station had something uniquely special in mind for her – she was to be the Chief Guest at their Republic Day celebrations, and unfurl the national flag.

An overwhelmed Lakshamma told The News Minute that the gesture was one she would never forget. "I was really happy, since I've been working here since they opened the police station. People who work here are my family. I am glad that even they felt the same way."

Lakshamma was about to leave for home after finishing her work, when she was told by inspector Ravi Patil about her new role for the day. "A smile lit up her face and she agreed to preside over the ceremony. She's a quiet woman, so I couldn't really tell if she was emotional," Patil told TNM.

Lakshamma, who currently receives a monthly income of Rs 1,500 has been the sole breadwinner for her six children, ever since her husband died many years ago. One of her sons, Venkatesh, also works as a pourakarmika at the police station.

For the past two decades, Lakshamma has been a regular at the police station, sometimes sending her son to do the cleaning when she is unable to. But even when she herself was unable to clean, she ensured that the quality of work wasn’t compromised by coming to inspect and supervise the work, said Inspector Patil.

Inspector Patil, who began working at the Kumaraswamy unit five years ago, said that Lakshamma and her son always ensured that the premises stayed immaculately clean and tidy. So the personnel at the station planned their gesture to thank her for her services. "We were all discussing one day about who should unfurl the flag on Republic Day. Everyone agreed it should be Lakshamma," he said. 

The New Indian Express first reported on the special ceremony that took place at Kumaraswamy police station.

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