New Delhi [India], January 21 (ANI): Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday slammed Opposition for questioning the Centre over the decision to 'extinguish' the flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti and felt "astounded by the duplicity and the hypocrisy" of the opposition, in view of the upcoming Republic Day celebrations.
"The question that needs to be asked of the opposition is why did you not think of making a permanent memorial in the last six decades when you were in power. This flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti is a temporary one.... India Gate was built in the pre-Independence era and it does not have any name of the fallen heroes of 1971 or other wars," said the minister to ANI.
The Union Minister of State called out Opposition for their duplicity and the hypocrisy over the decision.
"Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi built the National War Memorial and the name of every fallen hero is put there. That is the best tribute to be given to our soldiers. I'm astounded by the duplicity and the hypocrisy of the opposition," he said.
Earlier today, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that it is a matter of great sadness that the immortal flame that used to burn for our brave soldiers will be extinguished.
"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!" tweeted Rahul Gandhi today in Hindi.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also took to Twitter and said, "This government has no respect for democratic tradition and established convention, whether in parliament or out of it. The sanctity acquired after 50 years of the Amar Jawan Jyoti is being lightly snuffed out... So everything must be reinvented post-2014?!"In a historical step days before Republic Day, the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate lawns would be extinguished and merged with the flame at the National War Memorial on Friday.
"The Amar Jawan Jyoti flame at India Gate will be extinguished and merged with the flame at the National War Memorial on Friday at a ceremony," an Indian Army official told ANI.
The ceremony would be presided over by the Integrated Defence Staff Chief Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna who would merge the two flames, officials said.
The India Gate memorial was built by the British government in memory of the British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives between 1914 and 1921.
However, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was included in the memorial structure in the 1970s after the massive victory of India over Pakistan in which 93,000 troops of the enemy country surrendered.
After a long wait and multiple considerations, the National War Memorial was built in the India Gate complex by the Narendra Modi government and was inaugurated in 2019.
After the inauguration of the building in War memorial, all military ceremonial events were shifted to it from the India Gate memorial.
The National War Memorial has the names of all the Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives in different operations from the 1947-48 war with Pakistan to the Galwan valley clash with Chinese troops.
The names of troops who lost lives in the counter-terrorist operations are also mentioned on the walls of the memorial. (ANI)