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Enthusiastic response from citizens to 'Vijay Parv' celebrations at India Gate lawns

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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Dec 15: A pistol handed over to the Indian Army by then East Pakistan army commander Lt General A K A Niazi following Pakistan's surrender in the 1971 war and his Mercedes Benz car were among the war relics that drew maximum attraction at a two-day grand event held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of India's glorious victory over its arch-rival, officials said on Wednesday.

Representational Image

The event, organised as part of 'Vijay Parv' at the India Gate lawns, witnessed the participation of around 75,000 people, they said. The armed forces displayed various types of guns, equipment and other military assets used in the war besides showcasing activities like Kalaripayattu (an Indian martial art form) and Khukri drills.

The exhibition of war relics comprised flags, guns, tanks and equipment of the Pakistani Army that were captured after more than 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered on December 16, 1971.

Lt Gen Niazi signed the 'Instrument of Surrender' in Dhaka (then Dacca) in the presence of Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, the GOC-in-C of the Indian Army's Eastern Command.

''The main attractions were Gen Niazi's Mercedes Benz car, his pistol and the actual map on which the Indian Army planned the operations in the 1971 war,'' said a senior military official.

The event received an overwhelming response from the public on both days with more than 37,000 people witnessing it on December 12 and 38,500 on the next day, said an official.

India's victory in the war led to the birth of Bangladesh. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the event on December 12 by unveiling a 'Wall of Fame' as a mark of respect to all the soldiers of the 1971 war who laid down their lives during the campaign.

A recorded video message of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, inviting the nation ''to celebrate the Vijay Parv with Armed Forces'' was played out at the inauguration ceremony. The short video was recorded on December 7, a day before Gen Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 armed forces personnel were killed in a tragic helicopter crash near Coonoor.

The video message by Gen Rawat generated a lot of patriotic fervour among the people, said another official.

The Army also attempted to display the operations along the Western and Eastern front during the war, especially the Tangail airdrop and the bombardment of the Governor's house at Dhaka. The Tangail airdrop on December 11, 1971, by the 2nd Battalion of the Indian Army's Parachute Regiment is considered a major air operation carried out ever by Indian paratroopers.

It is widely acknowledged that the operation set the stage for the surrender of the Pakistani Army days later.

Light and sound shows depicting the landmark events of the war in Hindi and English were also part of the celebrations. Pramod Singh, a resident of Ghaziabad who witnessed the event along with his family, said it reminded civilians like him about the valour and sacrifices of the armed forces. ''I am happy to understand the way the Indian armed forces defeated the tyrannical Pakistani regime and freed the Bangladeshi people from injustice. Such events remind civilians like us about the valour and sacrifices of the armed forces of our country,'' he said.

A skit enacted by a group of Army personnel depicting the site of the 'Battle of Longewala' received enormous response, reflecting keen curiosity amongst the masses to understand the details of the famed battle, the officials said.

Terming India's victory in the 1971 war as a triumph of justice over injustice, Defence Minister Singh on Tuesday said the war fought against the atrocities on common people showed India's commitment towards humanity. He remembered the war heroes namely Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Lt Gen Aurora, Lt Gen JFR Jacob and Air Marshal Idris Hassan Latif and others. ''This war was a 'justice war' due to which a new nation 'Bangladesh' was born. This war was a war to show India's commitment to humanity,'' Singh said at the event.

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