The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s faux pas of passing of US army personnel as Indian Army soldiers wasn’t restricted to just the hoardings put up across the city; invitation cards for the Martyrs Day event in Sector 33 too had the same photograph.
The hoardings were removed overnight after the mistake was pointed out but the corporation could do little about the invitations which had been distributed. After the event at the Terraced Garden on Monday, Mayor Poonam Sharma said that she would order an inquiry to fix responsibility. “I have learnt that the original photograph had Indian Army written on it, due to which the person concerned may have not known that the photograph showed US soldiers. We can mark an inquiry to find out who made the error,” Sharma said.
Officials remained tight-lipped over the issue. “The Public Relations Department is responsible for getting the hoardings installed but the actual design was outsourced to a private agency,” said an official. It is not known how many hoardings were put up.
Former MP and BJP leader Satya Pal Jain said, “It is a highly condemnable act. Commemoration of martyrs is a very sacred occasion. Making such a blunder is an insult to the entire nation and to the martyrs. Stern action should be taken against whoever is responsible. This mistake also shows that the MC took the event in a casual manner.” Former mayor Subhash Chawla, however, said that it was an “unintentional error”.
Nominated councillor Major D S Sandhu (retd), insisted that the personnel in the photograph were Indian soldiers. “I had a discussion with several army officers at the event regarding the photograph, and we concluded that the soldiers shown in it are not American, but Indian soldiers. In any case, this issue should not overshadow the hard work put in by the MC to honour the war widows and remember the martyrs of the nation,” he said.
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