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PPFA welcomes HC directive on war memorial

Patriotic People’s Front Assam [PPFA] welcomed the verdict of Gauhati High Court in clearing all hurdles to complete the proposed war [martyr’s] memorial on the north bank of historic Dighalipukhuri in the heart of the city.

The Gauhati high court on Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation [PIL] to permanently halt the construction of the war memorial on the bank of the ancient tank arguing that the construction activities would affect the ecology of the pond and also destroy its link between present and the past history.

The court in its order said that the proposed memorial would not only ‘inspire the children and youths of Assam to join the armed forces’ but also inculcate in them respect for the members of armed forces who have sacrificed their lives for the country.

One of the respondent parties, Sainik Welfare Board of Assam, stated in an affidavit to the court that the construction of war memorial started on the government land outside the area of Dighalipukhuri [literary meaning long pond]. It also promised that no construction activity would be carried out in the water body of the 4.5-hectare tank.

The division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Manojit Bhuyan also observed that the respondents including the State government assured that there would be no construction activity in the water body of Dighalipukhuri and the pond would be preserved and protected from any encroachment.

It may be mentioned that a group Guwahati intellectuals knocked the door of HC through a PIL two months back challenging the construction, following which the court directed to maintain status quo on any construction activities around Dighalipukhuri.

Amazingly the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) also came out with a statement that it would not allow any war memorial in Assam, as it would only glorify the Indian armed forces. The armed outfit claimed that New Delhi was ‘forcefully invading Assam’ and hence it would continue opposing the project. Initiated by Sainik Welfare Board of Assam, the war memorial was financed by Assam government and its foundation stone was laid on 18 May last year by State chief minister Tarun Gogoi. Acclaimed Assamese sculptor Biren Singha designed the statues and other artifacts for the 100 million budget project.

“We are happy that the honourable court has paved the way for the completion of war martyr’s memorial, which we believe will surly inspire the present and future generation to remember the heroism and sacrifice of our great martyrs,” said a statement issued by Rupam Barua, Nava Thakuria, Pramod Kalita, Anup Sharma, Girindra Karji, Jagadindra Raichoudhury, Pankaj Duarah, Tarali Chakrabarty of PPFA adding that many civil society groups supported the construction of war memorial and finally their stand was vindicated by the court.

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