Tank captured in Indo-Pak war being relocated from city to Albert Ekka park Credit: EastMojo Image

Agartala: Almost five decades after the Indo-Pak war 1971, the Tripura government has decided to construct a war memorial in memory of the soldiers who achieved martyrdom during the war with East Pakistan.

A tank and an artillery gun have been shifted from Post office, Chowmuhani to Alber Ekka war memorial on newly-constructed granite base, said Agartala Smart City Project (ASCP) chief executive officer Dr Shailesh Kumar Yadav.

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“Post office Chowmuhani had a war memorial which had one tank & one artillery gun captured from East Pakistan during 1971 war,” Yadav said.

The tank and artillery gun was shifted on Sunday afternoon in Lichubagan war memorial which is under construction for Rs 4.83 Crore, and it is expected to be completed in next 9 to 10 months.

“The Army had a small war memorial at Lichubagan dedicated to martyrs of the 1971 war. LNk Albert Ekka was awarded Param Veer Chakra for the battle of Gangasagar which was a part of 1971 Indo-Pak war. He saved Agartala from being captured by erstwhile East Pakistan. It was a long-standing demand of Indian Army to make a big war memorial combining both of these war memorials,” Yadav added.

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“The replica of the existing 40 feet victory pillar at Post office Chowmuhani has been constructed at Lichubagan park. This has been done after written permission from Sainik Board & several consultations over the last one year with Indian Army authorities,” Yadav said.

He further said that the Post Office Chowmuhani will be reconstructed with a reduced diameter of 18 metres on the theme of Tree of Life under the same project of Smart City Mission.

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As per information obtained from Brigadier (Retd) JP Tiwari of State Sainik Board, the tank & the gun which have been shifted today have no connection with erstwhile king of Tripura. Some unscrupulous elements are spreading rumours regarding this to create a communal disharmony, Yadav opined.

“The only aim is to fulfill the longstanding demand of Armed Forces to create a befitting war memorial for the 1971 war & Alber Ekka, a demand which remained unfulfilled for decades,” Yadav, who is also the West district magistrate said.

Reacting to the relocating of the war memorial, Congress president Pijush Kanti Biswas said that the tank and artillery is the symbol of war and many memories, including former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s contribution.

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“It is an attempt to not let the new generation understand the history of the country. Whenever the people visited the city people could pay their respect to the war heroes. It was done intentionally against the sentiments of the people,” Biswas said.

CPIM sadar secretary Pabitra Kar said that the war memorial was here for the last 50 years and people could understand the gravity of the war between the two nations.

“The tank and artillery and the tower were installed here and every year on January 26 the governor pays them tribute since the last five decades. The decision to remove them from here is not acceptable and people’s sentiment should have been given importance. Post office Chowmuhani is the heart of the city,” Kar said.

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Reacting to the political comments, BJP Spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said that the decision to relocate the tank and artillery gun was taken in a bid to ensure that people can visit the war memorial and know more about the history at Albert Ekka Park in Lichu Bagan.

“The present location does not allow people to enter inside and see the tank and artillery or read about the history while somebody is visiting the state to know the 1971 war. A dedicated war memorial is being constructed which would have all the history and artifacts related to the war. Politics should not be made out of everything,” Bhattacharya said.

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