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Memorial of 1971 War Martyrs Moved From India Gate to National War Memorial

The ceremony takes place almost four month since the eternal flame was “merged” with that of the NWM.

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The armed forces in a ceremony on Friday, 27 May, moved the symbol of the fallen soldier, an inverted rifle ad helmet, from India Gate to the National War Memorial. The same was installed at the Param Yodha Sthal, amidst busts of Param Air Chakra awardees, completing the integration of the Memorial of Fallen Soldiers of the 1971 war with the National War Memorial.

The ceremony takes place almost four months since the Amar Jawan Jyoti was “merged” with the flame of the National War Memorial, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2019, a few hundred metres away.

The ceremony, led by the Chief of Integrated Defense Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) Air Marshal BR Krishna, who ordered a final salute was attended by equivalent Adjutant Generals (AGs) from the tri-services.

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The “merger” of the eternal flame from India Gate to the National War Memorial had attracted widespread criticism in January, with Rahul Gandhi writing on Twitter: "It is sad hat the Amar Jyoti flame that was lit 50 years ago to mark the valour of our jawans is being extinguished. Some people do not understand their love and sacrifice for the nation, but we will light the Amar Jawan flame once again."

In a press release, the Ministry of Defence stated: “Armed Forces today in a ceremony shifted the Inverted Rifle and the Helmet from India Gate, which was the symbol of Fallen Soldiers of 1971 War, to Param Yodha Sthal at National War Memorial and installed the same in the midst of Busts of Param Vir Chakra Awardees.”

This is the first time since the establishment of the Amar Jawan Jyoti following India’s triumph over Pakistan during the Bangladesh liberation war, that the flame was extinguished from under India Gate, a memorial to martyred Indian soldiers during World War 1 and other military campaigns.

“A final salute was given and CISC offered a wreath at India Gate. Thereafter the Inverted Rifle and Helmet was removed and carried in a ceremonial vehicle to the Param Yodha Sthal and installed at a newly created monument,” the statement further added.

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India Gate’s memorial was originally inaugurated by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, almost a month after Pakistani troops surrendered. Since then, the memorial has acted as a symbol of gratitude and in remembrance of martyred soldiers.

The National War Memorial has been heavily promoted by the government, with the defence ministry stating that earlier, politicians and visiting dignitaries had to pay their respects at two different places, according to reports by The Indian Express.

However, since the establishment of the National War Memorial, which commemorated independent India’s fallen soldiers, the ministry said that there was no need, the report added.

Constructed over 40 acres of land near India Gate, the war memorial has names of over 26,000 soldiers who have been martyred since Independence.

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

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Topics:  The Forgotten Army   Army   Air Force 

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