Flame Merger: Many for, some against

New Delhi: Military veterans appear divided on the government’s decision to merge the Amar Jawan Jyoti flame with the flame at the National War Memorial. While most have supported the decision, some have expressed their reservations and want the government to reconsider.

Lt Gen Satish Dua, a former GOC, 15 Corps, said the decision gave him “great satisfaction”.

“It gives me great satisfaction that the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate is being merged with the National War Memorial. As someone who had steered the design selection and construction of NWM, I had been of this view all along,” Lt Gen Dua wrote on Twitter.

“India Gate is a memorial to the fallen heroes of First World War. The Amar Jawan Jyoti was added in 1972 as we did not have another memorial. National War Memorial pays homage to the fallen Bravehearts after independence. All homage ceremonies had shifted to NWM already,” he added.

However, Retired Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur thinks otherwise. He requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to alter the decision.

“Sir, the eternal flame at India Gate is part of India’s psyche. You, I and our generation grew up saluting our brave jawans there. While the National War Memorial is great, the memories of Amar Jawan Jyoti are indelible. Request rescind decision,” tweeted the former Additional Director General of the Centre for Air Power Studies.

Army veteran Brig Sandeep Thapar said the Congress has been petulant on the issue.

“I think Congress is being petulant on this issue. ‘Asi start Keeta c, tusi hata rahe ho’! If Amar Jawan Jyoti was started to honour 71 martyrs, those names are at NWM also. And this flame is being merged with the one at NWM,” Brig Thapar tweeted.

Lt Gen Kamal Jit Singh, former GOC, Western Command, feels the decision to merge the flame is logical.

Former Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda was quoted as saying by TV channels: “It’s appropriate that the flames are merged and the decision doesn’t devalue the iconic India Gate.”

The ceremony would be presided over by the Integrated Defence Staff chief Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna, who will merge the two flames on Friday.

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