New Delhi/Allahabad, Jan 16: It is a general notion that the armed forces are uncompromising and do not show emotions. But the gesture shown today by General Bikramjit Singh and the army unit in Allahabad show the softer yet firm side of the army.
Army Chief Gen Singh today visited the home of slain soldier Hemraj near Mathura and said this is our family. He is slated to visit the home of other jawan Sudhakar Singh at his native Dadhiya village in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh.
On the other spectrum, the spirit of Maha Kumbh has caught on with the armed forces and the army has opened parts of a fort to the public. The fort was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar at the holy Sangam and the pilgrims and tourists can now visit the historic Patalpuri Temple and the Saraswati Koop, situated inside the fort. The good news is that this arrangement will be permanent.
"The Patalpuri Temple, the Akshayvat tree held sacred by Hindus and the Saraswati Koop - a symbol of the goddess of learning and the mythical river named after her which has a confluence with Ganga and Yamuna at the Sangam had been inaccessible to people as these fall in defence land. However, we have now thrown these spots open to the public," Major General Bishamber Dayal, General Officer Commanding Purva UP and MP sub-area, said.
"Presence of an ordnance depot makes the Fort a sensitive area. However, we have realised that this must not deprive visitors of an opportunity to enjoy parts of the exquisite specimen of architecture wherein lie places of religious and cultural importance. Hence, people will henceforth be allowed to take a guided tour of parts of the Fort besides the Akshayvat, Patalpuri and Saraswati Koop. They will have to seek no special permission from higher authorities unlike in the past," the Major General said.
He said the armed forces have always been sensitive towards the religious and cultural needs of the people and have shared parts of defence land for the 12-yearly Maha Kumbh congregations in the past and have done so this time as well.
The army has also set up a control room inside the fort, which is about 50 feet above the ground, giving a good view of the mela city. It also has a camp near the mela ground with medicine, fire-fighting and other forms of disaster management equipment.
Apart from guarding the border and braving Pakistani bullets, the jawans of Indian army form the foundation of many social activities as demonstrated by its chief and units.
(With PTI inputs)