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Oppn slams Centre over decision to ‘extinguish’ flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti, govt alleges ‘misinformation’

“The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is not being extinguished. It is being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial," government sources said.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
Updated: January 21, 2022 1:39:52 pm
“The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is not being extinguished. It is being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial," government sources said. (Express photo)

The Opposition strongly hit out at the Centre for its decision to “extinguish” the eternal flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti as it is to be merged with the National War Memorial on Friday. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the move, saying “some people cannot understand patriotism”.

However, government sources said there was “a lot of misinformation” over the decision.

“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 cannot understand patriotism and sacrifice – never mind… We will once again light the Amar Jawan Jyoti for our soldiers!” Rahul Gandhi tweeted Friday.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also took to Twitter and said, “This government has no respect for democratic tradition & established convention, whether in parliament or out of it. The sanctity acquired after fifty years of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is being lightly snuffed out… So everything must be reinvented post-2014?!”

Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader Manish Tewari also slammed the BJP government. “The RSS in principle doesn’t consider martyrdom as ideal but a fatal flaw. Here, excerpts from Golwalkar’s “Bunch of Thoughts”, which has now been taken down from their website. This explains why the Modi Govt is extinguishing Amar Jawan Jyoti today, after half a century,” tweeted Kharge.

Tewari said, “Whatever is being done is a national tragedy and an attempt to rewrite history. Merging Amar Jawan Jyoti with War Memorial Torch means erasing history. BJP has built the National War Memorial, that does not mean they can extinguish the Amar Jawan Jyoti.”

Government sources, meanwhile, said it was “ironic that people who did not make a National War Memorial for seven decades” were now “making a hue and cry when a permanent and fitting tribute is being made to our martyrs”.

“The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is not being extinguished. It is being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial. It was an odd thing to see that the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti paid homage to the martyrs of the 1971 & other wars but none of their names are present there,” government sources said.

“The names inscribed on the India Gate are of only some martyrs who fought for the British in the World War 1 & the Anglo Afghan War & thus is a symbol of our colonial past. The names of all Indian martyrs from all the wars, including 1971 and wars before and after it, are housed at the National War Memorial. Hence, it is a true shraddhanjali to have the flame paying tribute to martyrs there,” they added.

Meanwhile, speak to The Indian Express, Retd General Ashok Mehta said, “The Congress will obviously oppose (the decision) because the Amar Jawan Jyoti came up during their time. But with the War Memorial now in place, it does not make sense to have two separate flames to commemorate soldiers. It is the right choice to merge the flames and have only one place for it. The (BJP) government has taken a political call to see it (Amar Jawan Jyoti) as a colonial structure, otherwise they could have built a memorial around it as well.”

Major General Amarjit Singh said, “I think it is okay because you can’t have two institutions. One place is better. The new War Memorial is a really good institution, so I think that should be looked after in a better way rather than having two separate places. The War Memorial has everybody; the latest names are there which are not there at India Gate. It also takes a lot of manpower to have two separate places. We’ve got to move on.”

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