Gangtok: ‘Veeron Ko Naman’, a special programme to pay tribute to the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who were martyred during the recent standoff along the India-China border in Galwan valley of Ladakh, was held on MG Marg in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, on Thursday evening.
The programme was graced by Governor Ganga Prasad and chief minister PS Golay, along with Lok Sabha MP Indra Hang Subba and Speaker LB Das, cabinet ministers and MLAs and state government officials, Army personnel and ex-servicemen and the public.
The programme commenced with the Shok Shastra Salami or the presentation of arms by Sikkim Armed Police and Sikkim Police Band and laying of a wreath on the ‘Shaheed Bedika’ / Memorial of the 20 martyrs by the governor and CM of Sikkim. A brief background of the solemn occasion and the names of the martyrs were elucidated by Sikkim Police DIG Range Prawin Gurung.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, two minutes of silence was observed as a mark of a special tribute to the martyrs. This was followed by a gun salute by the Sikkim Armed Police carefully synchronized with the tune of the Sikkim Police Band.
Meanwhile, a floral tribute to the martyrs was also offered by representatives of various associations amidst patriotic songs. Thereafter, the artists of the state culture department presented patriotic songs. The tune of Eh Mere Watan Ke Logon reverberated the air as members of the public came forward to pay their tribute to the brave martyrs.
Governor Ganga Prasad in his address paid rich tribute to the brave soldiers of the Indian army who lost their lives while fighting for the nation. He termed it as the highest form of sacrifice to the motherland. The Governor stated that the people of Sikkim stand shoulder to shoulder with the nation to safeguard against any external forces. He expressed his deepest condolences to the members of the families of the brave martyrs.
The governor said, “This is new India which has learned to protect and preserve its territory. People of Sikkim must not pay heed to any rumor floating around. The country is safe in the hands of the brave Indian Army.” The Governor concluded his address with a patriotic poem inciting brevity and valor to deal with any adversity.
CM Golay while paying his homage to the brave martyrs reiterated that the purpose of organizing the program is to reinforce the message to the nation and the world that Sikkim and its people stand with our brave soldiers/martyrs who have made the supreme sacrifice for the country. CM Golay stated, “The Government and the people of Sikkim are committed to providing all possible support in safeguarding the nation. The country has always been safe under the constant vigil of the brave soldiers.”
While paying his rich tribute to the martyred soldiers, he recounted the sacrifice of all the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who have lost their lives since Independence.
Golay added, “Sikkim is ready to go to any extent to lend assistance to the nation.” He announced that the state government is presenting an amount of Rs 1 lakh each to the families of the 20 martyrs.
On the occasion, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav joined the event through live webcast. He lauded the government of Sikkim for organising the befitting tribute to the brave martyrs.
Likewise, the function was joined through live webcast by Union minister of state for DoNER Dr Jitendra Singh. In his message, the minister congratulated the governor and chief minister for having conceptualized and visualized this homage ceremony.
“Coming from a border state himself, I can understand the sacrifice made day and night by the brave soldiers of the Indian Army. There is no compensation for what the Army does for the country and the people of the nation. We can only be eternally grateful,” Singh said.
He stated that it is appropriate that this function is being held in Sikkim because the people of Sikkim are known for their patriotism.
“Whenever the country goes through any challenge, Sikkim has always exhibited great strength and forbearance and inspired the rest of the nation. We should all contribute our bit to the country. This would be a befitting homage to these brave martyrs. India has always stood for peace, but whenever threatened, it has retaliated with valor, sacrifice, and bravery. This has been inherited by the coming generation,” said Singh while offering his deepest condolences to the families of the martyrs.
Union minister of state for home G. Kishan Reddy congratulated the government of Sikkim on behalf of the Union home ministry for organising the homage programme. The minister sent out a strong message that the country will not let the supreme sacrifice of the martyrs in vain.
The programme culminated with the lighting of candles and mobile flashlights by the dignitaries and members of the public to pay homage to the martyrs. The entire stretch of MG Marg presented a unique spectacle symbolising the collective gesture of the people of Sikkim. Loud cheers of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai and ‘Bande Mataram’ brought the day’s programme to an end.