An Army tank on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus? Yes it’s may become a reality as Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar has put forth this idea. Kumar said that an Army tank which could be displayed at a prominent place on campus to serve as a inspiration. It will also make students aware of the sacrifices of the jawans. Kumar requested union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and General V K Singh to help in procuring an Army tank. The varsity yesterday had observed ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ to mark the sacrifices of Indian soldiers in the 1999 war. The idea of showcasing a military tank was first brought up after JNU campus become the centre of a controversy for alleged anti-India slogans during the February 9, 2016 event.
Besides Pradhan and Singh, cricketer Gautam Gambhir, Major General (retd) G D Bakshi and author Rajiv Malhotra were part of the event, which began with a Tiranga March from the main gate to the Convention Centre, carrying a 2,200 foot-long tricolor.
Kumar hailed the Kargil Vijay Diwas as an important day for everyone to remember the sacrifices made by men in the defence forces to keep the safety and security of this country.
Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gambhir spoke about the February 9 controversy, and said respect for the tricolor should be non-negotiable, and that the Army had the right to take extreme decisions. “Those standing on the borders are the real heroes, not cricketers or Bollywood celebrities. Standing in JNU, it takes me back to when there was a lot of talk about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is important, but there are certain things which are absolutely non-negotiable. One is the respect for the tricolor,” Gambhir said. “There are people sitting in AC rooms and comfortable positions should never try and make a comment about the defence forces. People who stay in extreme conditions and risk their lives should be given all the rights to take extreme decisions… Some time back, people said that the decision (to tie a Kashmiri man to the front of a military vehicle to deter stone-pelters) taken by Major (Leetul) Gogoi in Kashmir was very wrong, but I always maintained that people w’o’re in extreme conditions should have all the right to protect themselves, their men and the country,” Gambhir added.
MoS External Affairs V K Singh said the Indian Army had the “best record” on human rights across the world.
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Lauding the initiative taken by the university, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said JNU created history today by organising ‘Tiranga March’, setting up Wall of Heroes and by raising slogans of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram”. He further said “In no other country, is the Army being questioned. As India is a democracy, some powers dare to show India in poor light. May God give sch people better sense”.