The Army on Thursday clarified that the makeshift memorial to Sena chief Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park was not a hindrance to the Vijay Diwas celebrations scheduled to take place on December 15 and 16.
"There are no hindrances at the moment," said Major General Rajesh Bawa, general officer commanding, Mumbai sub-area. "We are happy with what we have and the high court has granted necessary permissions. However, there are certain restrictions on noise levels," he added.
Shiv Sainiks continued to guard the memorial but avoided any confrontation with the Army. The Army has barricaded the area and initiated measures to ensure a smooth event. Vijay Diwas celebrations, to mark the victory of the Indian Army over Pakistan in 1971, will be conducted away from the cremation site.
"We will ensure that the event goes off smoothly. It will include fly pasts, free falls and slithering from helicopters, riding displays and motorcycle displays and is sure to enthrall the public. It will also give the citizens a hands-on experience about weapon systems and equipment used by the Army," said Major Bawa.
An official press release said, "The aim of this mela is to not just showcase the might and capabilities of the Indian Army but also rekindle interest among the city's youth to choose the Armed Forces as a career option."
"Through this mela, the Army will also reach out to its ex-servicemen to update them on various post-retirement issues including those related to pension. The mela will also have informative stalls on how to join Army," it added.
Army facing shortage of 12,000 officers
In its attempt to attract the youth to join the Armed forced and display its prowess, the Indian Army is all set to begin Vijay Diwas celebrations at Shivaji Park from Friday.
"We have organised this display to let the city's youth know that the Army is also an attractive career option and have set up stalls to explain the recruitment process," said Major General Rajesh Bawa, General Officer Commanding, Mumbai sub-area. He said the army was facing a shortage of 12,000 officers in its ranks.
Maharashtra contributes the maximum number of people to the army from across the nation.