Modi to inaugurate war memorial, address ex-servicemen in Bhopal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a war memorial, which took more than six years to build, in Bhopal on Friday amid a war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and the opposition over the Indian Army’s surgical strike.Updated: Oct 14, 2016, 11:41 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a war memorial, which took more than six years to build, in Bhopal on Friday amid a war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and the opposition over the Indian Army’s surgical strike.
Modi will land in Bhopal at about 4 pm and will head to Lal Parade ground to address an ex-servicemen’s gathering called ‘Shaurya Samman Sabha’. He will then inaugurate the Shourya Smarak, built by the state government, in the evening.
“It is a matter of pride for Madhya Pradesh people that the Shaurya Smarak came up with the state government’s efforts and the PM is going to inaugurate it. This will give a boost to the morale of not only the armed forces but also the citizens of the country,” state BJP vice-president Vijesh Lunawat said.
The war memorial, built over 12 acres on Arera Hills at a cost of approximately Rs 41 crore, has a 62-foot Shaurya Stambh, an amphitheatre with a capacity to seat 1,000 people and galleries to showcase the armed forces’ history and wars the country has fought.
The foundation stone of the war memorial was laid on February 24, 2010, by the then army chief General Deepak Kapoor.
“Inauguration of the war memorial by the Prime Minister and his address to the ex-servicemen will boost the morale of army men. The state government has put in great efforts to acknowledge and underline the role and image of the armed forces,” wing commander (retd) Arun Puri told HT.
PM Modi’s Bhopal visit comes three days after his Dussehra speech in Lucknow where he said that “sometimes war becomes unavoidable” but said those who support and provide sanctuary to terrorists can’t be spared.
The PM, however, did not name Pakistan in his speech, the first since India’s military retribution against the neighbour New Delhi blames for the terror attack on an army base in Uri that left 19 soldiers dead.
Opposition parties have accused the BJP of profiteering from the military action and the ruling party has berated the opposition for “belittling” the sacrifice of the armed forces.
Congress leaders have claimed there have been surgical strikes in the past but the then UPA government never trumpeted such actions. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam have even demanded the government to provide evidence of the surgical strike.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘khoon ki dalali’ barb targeting Modi over the surgical strike has heated the political atmosphere, especially in Uttar Pradesh which is set for assembly elections in 2017.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ex-Services League of Bhopal and Ex-Servicemen League of Sehore urged him to “redress the long-standing grievances of service/retired personnel”.
“Our rights were curtailed during service … Even then, we were always ready to sacrifice our lives to defend the country. Our grievances need to be looked into by the government,” Lt Col (retd) SC Dixit said.
The PM will also meet Jain Acharya Vidyasagar, who is camping in the city during ‘Chaturmas’, at the Jain temple in Habibganj area of the city.
He will fly to Panaji at 7pm to attend the BRICS Summit scheduled for October 15 and 16.