Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fazilka residents donate for face-lifting of war memorial

Fazilka residents donate for face-lifting of war memorial
SP Sharma
Tribune News Service

Fazilka, December 8
The war memorial set up by residents of this town in the memory of 82 soldiers of the Indian Army, who laid their lives while protecting the area during the India-Pakistan war of 1971, is being renovated these days. It is being done with the donations from residents of the town that has the distinction of having established the country's only war memorial built out of funds raised from public.

Mohan Lal Paruthi, a prominent person of the area, who was among those who collected the mutilated bodies of the 82 soldiers of the 4 JAT and cremated them at the site of the war memorial in village Asafwala, is supervising the renovation work.

The war memorial committee has also set up a high school, a primary school, a dispensary and a community centre on the five-acre complex. A war museum is also under construction. The pillar on which the names of martyrs have been inscribed is also being renovated.

Paruthi recalled that the 82 soldiers laid their lives at Grumikhera while preventing the Pakistani troops from advancing towards the Fazilka town. A couple of residents on December 18 collected the mutilated remains of the soldiers from 7 in the morning till 3 pm and thereafter, performed the last rites on a mass pyre.

The war memorial was initially established on one acre land and was later expanded to five acres. The state government was approached for setting up a school that has now been upgraded to high school.

Paruthi said the war memorial had become an attraction for not only residents of the surrounding towns but also for visitors from outside who visit Fazilka to pay respect to the martyrs. He said portraits of the martyrs and pictures of the war would be displayed in the museum.

Shashi Kant, also involved in the renovation work, has published a booklet on the heroic deeds of the soldiers.

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