Dr. Yash Goyal
JAIPUR (TIP): India‘s first Railway Martyrs’ Memorial dedicated to 17 rail employees who had lost lives in the Indo-Pak war in 1965 was set up at Gadra Road Station in Barmer district on January 19. This sounds surprising that a martyrs’ memorial for railway employees who sacrificed their lives has come up now along the Indo-Pak border in Rajasthan.Google reveals: “The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. The conflict began following Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against Indian rule. India had the upper hand over Pakistan when the ceasefire was declared. Although the two countries fought to a standoff, the conflict is seen as a strategic and political defeat for Pakistan, as it had neither succeeded in fomenting insurrection in Kashmir nor had it been able to gain meaningful support at an international level”. After 55 years, a new generation people might not be knowing that in the neighboring countries’ war Pakistani army had bombarded the Bhartiya railway track in Barmer district where its employees were transporting ‘Rasad” (food and other supplies) to defense forces fighting the war on land in air. In twice attack of air bomb shelling on moving train and on the track by Pakistani army during the war, 12 employees martyred in first hostile attack and 5 in the second one. All the deceased were very young employees and left behind their family members including old age parents and children. Later the Railway has given jobs to their kins on compassionate ground, Gopal Sharma, North-Western Railway PR Officer, told TIP while sharing the war memories. Every year on September 9, scores of villagers, family members of the martyred and railway employees’ union used to observe a ‘shaheed diwas’ at the two sites, 1 to 2 km away from Gadra Road Railway station. They had to reach there by their own means of transportation and facing hard time. Now NWR has built the granite made memorial with 17 names inscribed on it as “Amar Jawan, Amar Shaheed” just outside the Gadra Road Station.
On January 19, NWR General Manager Anand Prakash along with BSF Barmer DIG Gurupal Singh and DRM-Jodhpur Geetika Pandey dedicated the first memorial of its kind to the nation by placing flower wreaths. The 142nd Battalion of BSF gave the guard of honor. GM Prakash also felicitated the family members of martyred railway personnel at a simple function there. BSF DIG hailed the contribution and cooperation of Railway employees and India’s victory terming it a historic one. (EOM)
(Dr. Yash Goyal is Foreign Correspondent, The Indian Panorama, based in Jaipur, Rajasthan. He can be reached at 91 94140 43334 / 0141 2942777)