New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Thursday reacted sharply to the government’s decision to put out the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate and taking a jibe at the Modi-led government said that they do not understand what patriotism and sacrifice is.
The Central government on Thursday had decided that the Amar Jawan Jyoti flame at India Gate will be extinguished after 50 years and merged with the flame at the National War Memorial here on Friday.
The war memorial was erected to pay homage to the fallen Indian soldiers who died in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The memorial was inaugurated by then Prime minister Indira Gandhi, Rahul’s grandmother, on January 26, 1972 at the republic day celebrations. India had won the war against Pakistan, which led to the formation of Bangladesh in 1971.
Rahul Gandhi attacked the Modi government and said, “It is a matter of great sadness that the immortal flame that used to burn for our brave soldiers will be extinguished today. Some people can’t understand patriotism and sacrifice – never mind… We will once again light the Amar Jawan Jyoti for our soldiers!”
Launching scathing attacks on the government other Congress leaders joined Rahul Gandhi and severely criticised the move to extinguish Amar Jawan Jyoti and merge it with National War Memorial.
Shashi Tharoor added that the government has no respect for democratic tradition and establishment of convention, in a tweet on January 21.
Another Congress leader Manish Tiwari censured the government and said that the Central vista development plan is ‘hubris’ and extinguishing Amar Jawan Jyoti is ‘nothing short of a crime’.
“National War Memorial . Redeveloping the Central Vista was hubris enough but extinguishing the eternal flame at India gate is nothing short of a crime. I am surprised that the nation is silent as a national icon would be snuffed out in the project to re-write History,” he said in a series of tweets.
Congress Party’s Uttar Pardesh Unit also came with a searing remark in Hindi which roughly translates to, “Amar Jawan Jyoti is a symbol of bravery of Indian bravehearts. The Amar Jawan Jyoti was lit on 26 January 1972 in memory of the soldiers who died in the 1971 Pakistan War. This flame, which has been burning for 50 years, will be extinguished today. This is not only an insult to the martyrs, but an attempt to erase a glorious history.”
The national war memorial, also situated at India Gate, is a monument built to honor Indian soldiers who died during armed conflicts in Independent India. The monument was built in the India Gate complex by the Narendra Modi government and was inaugurated in 2019.
The National War Memorial has the names of all the Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives in different operations from the 1947-48 war with Pakistan to the Galwan valley clash with Chinese troops.
The names of troops who lost lives in the counter-terrorist operations are also included on the walls of the memorial.
Meanwhile, supporting the government’s move to merge the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti with the National War Memorial, retired Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia, former DGMO Indian Army said, “Today is a great occasion, the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate is (being) merged with the National War Memorial. It’s a good decision. Time has come to shift the Amar Jawan Jyoti, to merge it with National War Memorial.”