Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday questioned the delay and “indifference” shown by past governments in erecting a national memorial for police personnel who laid down their lives in the line of duty since Independence.
Inaugurating a refurbished national police memorial and a museum on the National Police Commemoration Day, Modi said previous governments at the Centre let dust gather on the files of this subject.
“I am proud of the new police memorial that is being dedicated to the nation today but I have few questions to ask. Why could this memorial not come into being despite over 70 years of Independence?” Modi said in his speech to police jawans, officers, their families and retired personnel.
The National Police Commemoration Day is observed every year this day to pay homage to the 10 policemen who were killed in an ambush by Chinese troops in 1959 in Ladakh’s Hot Spring area.
The supreme sacrifice by police personnel at the Hot Springs in Ladakh also took place about 60 years back, he said.
“Why wait for so many years? (to erect a memorial)” the PM asked.
He said the plan to have a national memorial for slain police personnel was first conceptualised during the government of prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and in 2002, the then home minister L K Advani laid its foundation stone.
“I agree that work was stopped at this facility due to some legal issues but had the earlier governments put in a honest and wholehearted effort, this memorial could have been built much earlier,” he said.
Instead, the previous governments let the “files gather dust and when we came to power in 2014 we allocated funds for this task and today we are witnessing the reality,” Modi said.
“I think probably God has chosen me to do this noble task,” he said.
The Prime Minister said it has been made a practice in this government that the targets are achieved on time.
He alleged that similar “apathy” was shown by past governments in creating a national memorial for Babasaheb Ambedkar at Alipore Road in Delhi and the Ambedkar International Centre in Janpath, also in Delhi.
Both the memorials were inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi earlier this year.
“There is a serious question in my mind that why there is such an indifference by the past governments for those who sacrificed their lives for the country,” he said.
“This is not our tradition and we are known to hold the unity and integrity of the country even on an empty stomach,” he said.
“I am happy that these memorials are now inspiring the world,” he said.
The Prime Minister choked with emotions during his speech as he said the country will “never forget” the courage and ultimate sacrifice made by the police and paramilitary personnel at the altar of their duties.
He made a special mention of those personnel who render difficult duties in saving people hit due to natural or man-made disasters.
He announced a new decoration in the name of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose for police and paramilitary personnel involved in disaster relief.
The PM urged police forces to use technology in their day-to-day works so that the common man does not have to go to a police station for getting their ordinary complaints registered and basic verification of documents.
He urged police personnel to have empathy for the people as they were the “defence and protectors” to the poor, the abused and the marginalised.
“Offering a glass of cold water and saying two sweet words to a person who comes to you will further strengthen the police-public bond,” he said.
Modi also felicitated the surviving members of the Hot Spring police team at the event.