Martyrs` families demand memorial outside Parliament complex
New Delhi: Upset over restrictions on their entry for paying homage to the martyrs of 2001 Parliament attack, the family members of the slain personnel today demanded that they be allotted land outside the high-security complex to build a memorial.
The families said that after boycotting the ceremony for all these years to press for convict Afzal Guru`s hanging, they were looking forward to join the memorial service today but decided against it as only one of the relatives of the martyrs was being allowed inside by Parliament officials.
Demanding a memorial similar to the one built for 26/11 martyrs in Mumbai, All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) chairman M S Bitta said such restrictions were a "disrespect" to these families and so "we changed our minds and paid our floral tributes at the national police memorial".
"We had boycotted the homage-paying ceremony at Parliament all these years as Afzal Guru was not hanged. Today we are disappointed as the officials were allowing only one person to go in and not the whole family.
"The entire family wanted to pay homage to the martyrs that is why we want the government to give us a small piece of land where we can build a memorial from our own money," said Jaiwati, wife of Delhi police head constable Vijender Singh who laid down his life while fighting terrorists during the attack.
Umrao Singh Yadav from Sikar, whose son-in-law J P Yadav was also killed in the terror strike, said, "It is an irony that Parliament has security threat from the families of the people who laid down their lives while protecting it."
Bitta said, "After Afzal Guru`s execution, we had decided to end our boycott. We took our gallantry medals back from the President which we had earlier returned as a mark of protest.
"The relatives and the families of the martyrs wanted to go into the Parliament complex and offer homage. But the Parliament officials did not allow the relatives and said that only one person from a family will be allowed to come inside and pay tributes."
"We had written letters that the issue is over for us. We would just come and pay respect to the departed souls but it is the government officials who have messed up things," Bitta said.
Describing it as a "sad" situation, Bitta said, "When we came to know that the families will be disrespected, we changed our minds and then paid our floral tributes at the national police memorial."
The AIATF leader and the families also demanded that the government allocate space of at least 8X8 feet in or near the roundabout outside Parliament House so that a proper memorial could be erected in the memory of the martyrs, similar to the Police Gymkhana Club Memorial built for 26/11 martyrs near marine drive, Mumbai.
"So that the martyrs` families could be saved from the harassment and humiliation while seeking permission from the concerned authorities to gain access to the Parliament complex," he said.
Bitta and the families also demanded speedy implementation of the death sentence awarded to the convicts for the killing of Rajiv Gandhi and also Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar for the 1993 attack on Bitta.
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