New Delhi [India], January 21 (ANI): Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for opposing the merger of Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate with the flame at National War Memorial and said that the flame at the Amar Jawan Jyoti was under the British established building because a National War Memorial was not built by the Congress government.
Speaking to the reporters here today, Puri said, "We were under foreign domination for 190 years. India Gate is to honour the ones who contributed during the British rule. Why is he happy that the Amar Jawan Jyoti was under a building erected by the Britishers? It was under it because War Memorial was not built by the Congress government."The Union Minister further said there should be one national flame to honour all the Indians who contributed in all the wars.
"The Modi government built the War Memorial and it is logical that all the Indians who contributed in the First and second world war, or post 1947, there should be one national flame to honour all of them who have made our freedom possible," he said.
Puri's remarks came after the Congress leader, taking to Twitter, today said, "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."Earlier today, in a historical move by the Centre ahead of the Republic Day celebrations, the Amar Jawan Jyoti or the "eternal flame" for soldiers at India Gate was merged with the torch at the National War Memorial in a ceremony.
Meanwhile, retired Army officers welcomed and hailed the decision by the Centre.
Lieutenant General (Retd), Former Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Indian Army, Vinod Bhatia on Friday hailed the Centre's decision to merge Amar Jawan Jyoti with the War Memorial Memorial and said: "it is a good decision".
The 1971 war veteran and former Army Deputy Chief Lieutenant General JBS Yadava (Retd) also supported the Centre's decision and said "Amar Jawan Jyoti should be merged with National War Memorial. There should be only one war memorial in the country."Earlier today, a part of the flame was carried to the war memorial this afternoon in a ceremony that was presided by the Integrated Defence Staff chief Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna.
Krishna laid a wreath after which a torch was lit from the Amar Jawan Jyoti and the flame doused.
The torch was then taken to the national war memorial by a ceremonial guard from Guards Regiment of the Indian Army.
After travelling for around 150 metres, the torch was used to symbolically merge the flame from Amar Jawan Jyoti with the one at the National War Memorial.
Air Marshal Krishna presided over the ceremony at both locations.
The India Gate memorial was built by the British government in memory of the British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives between 1914-1921. (ANI)