Pandal during Ganesh puja in Gujarat ‘glorifies Kashmir human shield incident’

Image Courtesy: Indian Express

In a tribute to the Indian Army, a 3.5 foot Ganesh idol wearing an army uniform and holding an AK-47 was placed aside of a cut-out of the jeep, depicting the ‘human shield’ incident which had taken place last year, Indian Express reported. It was set up in a pandal in Om flats in Vadodara’s Gorwa area.

It also includes pictures of Indian army personnel and a fighter plane. The signage in front of the jeep reads ‘Kashmiri stone pelter’.

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A hoarding adjacent to the pandal reads, “For the last few years, Kashmir has been conflict-ridden and every now and then, citizens of Kashmir pelt the armed forces with stone and many political parties in India call them ‘adrift’ and protect them. So, we the members of Om flat are against all such politicians and political parties. They even protect those political students who raise slogans like ‘Bharat tere tukde honge’ in JNU. We strongly condemn such politicians. India was, is and will remain one. Kashmir is an integral part of India.”

The organising committee revealed that the idea was to show ‘solidarity’ with the Indian Army currently fighting at the borders.

A member of the organising committee, Sanjay Jadhav who had pitched the idea said, “My brother-in-law had served in the Indian Army as a Major and had fought the Indo-Pak and Indo-China wars. Every time he was home, he had many anecdotes to share. I have seen the life of our jawans through his stories and that has made me proud of the Indian Army.”

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Dilip Nepali, another member said that three from his family were currently serving in the Indian Army while three others have retired from the services. “We stand in solidarity with Major (Leetul) Gogoi and his move to tie up the stone-pelter. We have learned about him facing a court-martial but we do not condemn his move and instead we hail it and that is why we took up the concept,” Nepali said.

One of the two students who decorated the pandal was an 18-year-old BTech student, Meet Vaidya. “I love and respect the Indian Army,” he said.

Earlier in April last year, Major Leetul Gogoi and his team and tied a civilian to an Army jeep to escape heavy stone-pelting in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

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