Amar Jawan Jyoti flame merged with National war memorial flame
The eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti, which was lit in 1972, at the India Gate lawns has been extinguished after burning for 50 years. A part of the torch will now be merged with the National War Memorial's torch ahead of Republic Day. The decision to merge the two flames was due to upkeep difficulties and close proximity of 400m to each other and it is the National War Memorial which represents independent India and eternal soldier, the Hindustan Times and NDTV report.
Amid sharp criticism of the move, the government said a "lot of misinformation" was circulating, it adds.
"The flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is not being extinguished. It is being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial. It was an odd thing to see that the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti paid homage to the martyrs of the 1971 and other wars but none of their names are present there," government sources had said earlier as quoted by ndtv.com.
The India Gate was built by the British in the memory of soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in World War-I. The Amar Jawan Jyoti was placed under the India Gate in 1971, when the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government was in power.
The names inscribed on the India Gate are those who fought for for the British in the World War-I and Anglo Afghan War, said the government, describing it as "a symbol of our colonial past".
Targeting Opposition leaders who have slammed the government on the move, the government sources said it is "ironic that people who did not make a National War Memorial for 7 decades are now making a hue and cry when a permanent and fitting tribute is being made to our martyrs".
The Opposition had earlier strongly hit out at the Centre for its decision to “extinguish” the eternal flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti as it is to be merged with the National War Memorial on Friday. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the move, saying “some people cannot understand patriotism”.
“It is a matter of great sadness that the immortal flame that used to burn for our brave soldiers will be extinguished today. Some people cannot understand patriotism and sacrifice – never mind… We will once again light the Amar Jawan Jyoti for our soldiers!” Rahul Gandhi tweeted Friday.
However, government sources said there was “a lot of misinformation” over the decision.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also took to Twitter and said, “This government has no respect for democratic tradition & established convention, whether in parliament or out of it. The sanctity acquired after fifty years of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is being lightly snuffed out… So everything must be reinvented post-2014?!”
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader Manish Tewari also slammed the BJP government. “The RSS in principle doesn’t consider martyrdom as ideal but a fatal flaw. Here, excerpts from Golwalkar’s “Bunch of Thoughts”, which has now been taken down from their website. This explains why the Modi Govt is extinguishing Amar Jawan Jyoti today, after half a century,” tweeted Kharge.
Tewari said, “Whatever is being done is a national tragedy and an attempt to rewrite history. Merging Amar Jawan Jyoti with War Memorial Torch means erasing history. BJP has built the National War Memorial, that does not mean they can extinguish the Amar Jawan Jyoti.”