No rifle at Amar Jawan memorial this I-Day

Despite a brave promise made by the mayor to get the damaged Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial outside Azad Maidan restored to its original glory before Independence Day, this task is close to impossible.

Amar Jawan Jyoti
Wounded national pride: A damaged Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial outside Azad Maidan. Pic/Atul Kamble

The mock-rifle encased in durable plexiglas and the engraved plaque bore the brunt of stone-pelters and destructive rioters and the rifle was stolen in the melee that erupted on Saturday. The process of making the mould for the rifle could take an entire week and this could cause some embarrassment for the mayor and BMC.

The memorial was inaugurated in 2009 and besides showcasing the rifle, also had a plaque honouring sepoys. The total loss incurred is estimated to about Rs 2 lakh and this would be borne by BMC.

Mayor Sunil Prabhu, who visited the spot yesterday afternoon to review the situation, said, “This is totally unacceptable and I feel sorry for whatever happened on Saturday at Azad Maidan.

The miscreants have disrespected the memorial by destroying it. I on behalf of BMC, promise that the memorial would be beautified and all damages rectified before Independence Day.”

Vasant Prabhu, deputy municipal commissioner (zone- I) said that work on the memorial would be completed as promised, but sans the rifle.
“No tenders would be called in for this work and the task will begin immediately.

The total cost to get the memorial done up is been estimated to about Rs 2 lakh. Everything will be done before Independence Day except for the rifle, as that needs a proper mould and cannot be done in a hurry,” Prabhu said.

‘Avoid plastic flags’
The BMC has asked citizens to avoid using plastic flags on Independence Day, and also will be taking strict action against those found selling or buying them. Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani, said, “The use of plastic flags should be banned and strict action will be taken against those buying or selling these.” 

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