New Delhi: Veterans protesting over ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) on Wednesday urged the government to construct a war memorial for soldiers as soon as possible, as they paid tribute to martyrs of independent India at the Amar Jawan Jyoti on Vijay Diwas.
The veterans marched from Vijay Chowk to India Gate, and laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti.
A statement from the veterans called the day — which marks India’s military victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh — a “red letter day” in the history of independent India.
“(The year) 1971 not only scored brilliant military victory in the annals of military history but also created an independent nation,” the statement said.
“It is very unfortunate also that Indian leadership could not derive any political or strategic advantage out of this brilliant and historic victory,” the statement added.
The veterans also said the wreath laying at Amar Jawan Jyoti, in absence of a national war memorial, was “distressing”.
“It passes off as a routine day with a passing glance by the three chiefs in form of laying wreaths at Amar Jawan Jyoti. The nation does not celebrate it as a victory day.
“Giving the final blow is the most horrendous attitude of the political masters who despite 68 years of independence has not constructed any memorial for the martyrs when England, France and Italy have memorial for Indian soldiers who participated in first and second world war,” the veterans said.
“Even the India Gate memorial is constructed by Britishers in memory of Indian soldiers who fought in world war one and other wars prior to the Second World War”.
“Our humble submission for the earliest possible construction of the war memorial,” they said.
The United Ex-Servicemen Front (UFESM), spearheading the protests, made flags for the martyrs who shed their blood — which was carried along with a band on Rajpath.
The ex-servicemen also offered to contribute in “any form the government desires for the earliest possible construction of the war memorial”.