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Candle march to honour the fallen of Pulwama – The Manipal Journal
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Candle march to honour the fallen of Pulwama

MANIPAL: Hundreds of student of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and residents of the town gathered in response to the deadly terror attack in Pulwama district of South Kashmir that left about 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel martyred near Awantipora. Agitated and saddened by this cowardly attack on the security forces, Goonj – the Hindi Literary Society of MAHE, organised a silent candle march on February 15 in an attempt to project solidarity and nationwide grief, attended by many remorseful youths as well as locals.

The march started from Kamath Circle, proceeding through the Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) Campus and halting at the MIT Quadrangle before resuming from the MIT main gate and covering the route till the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Office at End Point Road. The candles lit by the attendees were placed at the circle near the DC Office’s infrastructure as the President of Goonj, Rahul Ravishankar Singh said that it was the heart of Manipal and a government official’s workplace, the voice raised here would hopefully reach New Delhi.

 

Local residents and their children marched in honour of the soldiers that lost their lives on February 14. || Photograph Courtesy: Ekta Sinha

 

Retired Lieutenant Commander of the Indian Navy, Geeta Lakshmi addressed the gathered students at the MIT Quadrangle and said, “All of us want to serve our nation in different capacities. The people who died did not know who they were fighting for but they gave every day to protect us. Today, marching silently we have demonstrated our solidarity in such times.”

At the same address, a professor from Department of Humanities, Alapati Vittaleshwar said, “We may not join military forces, but wherever we are, we should do our work sincerely and show gratitude to these forces that keep our nation safe.”

A student from MIT and an ex-literary head of Goonj, Nishit Singh Chauhan also spoke to the attendees and said, “People ask what will change after doing a candle march, but remember one thing, finding a solution out of a mess requires a willingness to listen. The Indian Army is a moral army and the Indian Army will use weapons to counter the terrorist that was used by the terrorist themselves.” He continued by saying, “I was asked if there was a solution to terrorism and I respond stating, there are two kinds of evil men in this world – one can be stopped by court cases and the other only by a 7.62 mm metal bullet to their heads and people are smart enough to understand who all belong to the second category. In this game there is no silver medal, it is either gold or death.”

“It was an attack on the unity of the country. The main reason for these terrorist attacks is to create chaos and we have to work against the fear and angst these terror groups try to instil in us and this march is the proof that we are not afraid of them,” said a local of Manipal, Shreekanth during the march.

An attendee from the Department of Commerce (DOC), Madhurima Chaudhari expressed her anguish and stated, “These terror attacks must be countered but it is not to be mistaken as vendetta between two countries but between the country and terror itself.”

 

Those who marched gathered and placed their candles at the circle near the Deputy Commissioner Office. || Photograph Courtesy: Ekta Sinha

 

On February 14, a convoy of 78 vehicles was transporting more than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Forces personnel from Jammu to Srinagar on the National Highway 44. One of these convoys was rammed by a Mahindra Scorpio SUV carrying around 350kg of explosives. The blast killed at least 40 CRPF personnel of the 76th battalion, leaving many others seriously injured. Pakistan based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed has since claimed responsibility for this attack and the bomber was identified as Adil Ahmed Dar. This was the deadliest terror attack on the security personnel in the state since 1989.

 

Featured Image Courtesy: Ekta Sinha

Edited by: Niharika Nambiar

Swarnima Mishra

swarnimamishra0623@gmail.com

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