The Centre’s Narendra Modi government has decided to extinguish the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti and merge it to the National War Memorial. While the government’s decision has come under sharp criticism from the opposition parties, government ‘sources’ to ANI and NDTV have issued extraordinary justification for the decision.
Reacting to the government’s decision, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted calling it a matter of ‘great sadness.’ He wrote in Hindi, “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!”
बहुत दुख की बात है कि हमारे वीर जवानों के लिए जो अमर ज्योति जलती थी, उसे आज बुझा दिया जाएगा।
कुछ लोग देशप्रेम व बलिदान नहीं समझ सकते- कोई बात नहीं…
हम अपने सैनिकों के लिए अमर जवान ज्योति एक बार फिर जलाएँगे!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 21, 2022
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “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?!”
Shiv Sena Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted, “Eternal Flame will be Extinguished Flame for sometime. How many more ideas & monuments we hold dear need to be reworked to make way for a ‘New India’? Sad & Anguished. #AmarJawanJyoti PS : Spare me gyaan on merging it with another flame at War Memorial. Why can’t we keep both?”
Meanwhile, ANI and NDTV have issued identical justification issued by the government ‘sources’ in support of the decision to extinguish the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti where Modi has been paying tributes for the last seven years since becoming the prime minister.
Quoting government sources, NDTV reported, “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.”
ANI flashed the ‘news’ on Twitter, “The flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti is not being extinguished. It is being merged with flame at National War Memorial. It was an odd thing to see that the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti payed homage to martyrs of 1971 & other wars but none of their names are present there.”
The only difference between the two above quotes was NDTV using the correct spelling of ‘paid.’
ANI added, once again quoted ‘sources’, “The names inscribed on the India Gate are of only some martyrs who fought for the British in the World War 1 & the Anglo Afghan War & thus is a symbol of our colonial past. The names of all Indian martyrs from all the wars, including 1971 & wars before & after it are housed at the National War Memorial. Hence it is a true ‘Shraddhanjali’ to have the flame paying tribute to martyrs there.”
Earlier, the Modi government had faced condemnation for defacing the Jallianwala Bagh monument in the name of renovation.
This was after renovated photos of the monument’s entrance showed how the Modi government had completely changed the route taken by General Dyer before massacring hundreds of unarmed Indian freedom fighters. The entrance in its original avatar made visitors feel the pain and horror of the massacre of innocent Indians by a cruel British general. This has now been replaced with unnecessary decoration and construction of too many statues.