Friday, December 17, 2010

INDO-PAK WARS OF 1965 &1971: 17 martyrs’ graves in state of neglect-Fazilka

Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Fazilka, December 16
Will anyone honour about 17 soldiers of the Indian Army, who made the supreme sacrifice in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars? Their graves are situated in the graveyard of Sainia village, near this border town, unattended and uncared for for the past many years?

Though on the occasion of Vijay Divas today, which also marks the 39th anniversary of the greatest victory India has made over Pakistan and the subsequent creation of Bangladesh, memorial functions are being held across the nation, the graves of these brave soldiers are lying in utter neglect.

A visit to the graveyard shows that though the nation is celebrating its 64th year of Independence, the memories of the men in olive green, who braved bullets and shells of enemies and attained martyrdom, are lost in oblivion. Most of the soldiers, who were made to rest here as their final abode, were members of the Muslim and Christian communities. No one can tell the exact number of soldiers who have been buried here.

The long grass and weeds, cow dung and other garbage littered over the place adds insult to injury of the families of these martyrs.

Local people and other sources say that the soldiers, whose graves are situated here, were from the North-East and southern Indian states.

The Army personnel belonging to 4 Jat 15, Rajput and 3 Assam regiments suffered a large number of causalties in the 1965 and 1971 conflicts.

It is learnt that the graves of some of these soldiers were situated in the graveyard being run by the Methodist church.

These brave soldiers were also among those martyrs, who stopped the Pakistan army's advance into this area and prevented it from capturing Fazilka town. The aim of the enemy was to capture Bathinda and Ludhiana in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Navdeep Asija, Secretary, Administration, Graduates Welfare Association, Fazilka, said the association was in the process of working out modalities so that all martyrs could be honoured.

Meanwhile, a senior officer of the Army, while pleading anonymity, said that as of today the Army did not have any plan to take care of this graveyard.

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