War veterans to protest vandalism of Gurgaon war memorial on remembrance day

Army veterans say they will hold protests till the culprits are brought to book

gurgaon Updated: Jul 25, 2017 23:38 IST
Yashaswani Sehrawat
Yashaswani Sehrawat
Hindustan Times
Gurgaon,Kargil Vijay Divas,Kargil war
Army veterans on Tuesday voiced anger over the vandalism of the war memorial.(Parveen Kumar/HT PHOTO)

 The occasion of Kargil Vijay Divas in Gurgaon is set to turn into a forum for voicing anger and protest, said the city war veterans on Tuesday.

The 7,000 square feet Rezang La war memorial, which was inaugurated in December in 2012, was vandalised on Monday night with its stone benches broken, floodlights damaged and plaques destroyed.

“We had gathered at the memorial to hold a discussion on the celebrations on Wednesday to commemorate Kargil Divas. But our spirits sank on seeing the sorry sight,” TC Rao, the convenor of the Rezangla Sahidi Samaroh Samiti, also called martyr’s welfare foundation, told Hindustan Times.

He, however, said the ex-servicemen won’t be silent and would use the ocassion to voice their outrage instead.

“We will protest and ensure that the culprits are taken to task. This memorial stands as a symbol of the supreme sacrifice of our soldiers. We see the vandalism as an affront and will not relent till the culprits are brought to book,” Rao said.

Col (retd) Mahavir Yadav, who took part in the 1971 IndoPak war and the Kargil conflict and is a member of the foundation, said that this Kargil Divas, “there won’t be celebrations, but aakrosh (angst)”.

Hum vidroh karenge (we will protest). What is there to celebrate when this is how martyrs are treated?” he asked.

He, however, added that a function will be organised to mark Kargil Divas. “As they say, the show must go on,” Col. Yadav said.

Col (retd) Mahender Singh Rathee, who fought in Kargil, told HT that his “blood boiled after hearing the memorial had been destroyed”.

“It’s disgusting that people could vandalize war memorials as well. Our jawans laid their lives for the country and this is how you repay them,” the colonel, who is a resident of Sector 23, said.

Another war veteran, GC (retd) Govind Saxena, who also took part in the Kargil war, said visits the memorial every Kargil Divas.

“It reminds me of my old days and I meet my old friends. Vandalism is a cowardly act and those who did this must be punished,” Saxena, who resides in Dwarka, said.

Around 20 people gathered at the memorial on Tuesday evening and protested against the vandalism.

“We will hold another protest on Wednesday. We have a lodged a complaint with the police and won’t let our memorials be damaged like this,” Rao said.

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Yadav said that the memorial was being maintained by the welfare association for the last two years, as the government didn’t show any interest.

“We wrote several letters but nothing happened. Hence, we took the onus of maintaining it,” he said.

Rao said he would pay for CCTV cameras from his own pocket to ensure better surveillance of the memorial.

Rao had filed a complaint on the CM’s window on Monday voicing his objection to a wine shop very close to the memorial and adjacent to the Columbia Asia hospital.

Every night, the memorial sees drunken brawls, he alleged.

Rezang La war memorial was inaugurated by then chief minsiter Bhupinder Singh Hooda on December 29, 2012. It was built in the honour of the 114 martyrs who sacrificed their lives during the battle for Rezang La pass in 1962. A majority of war heroes of the 13th Kumaon Regiment were from south Haryana districts of Gurgaon, Rewari and Mahendragarh.

First Published: Jul 25, 2017 23:38 IST