Hinting at the Congress regime, Union Home Minister Amit Shah claimed that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel did not get enough “respect and honour” in the pages of history after India got Independence.
While addressing a public gathering at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island (earlier known as Ross Island) at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Shah said, “Jitna samman Netaji aur Sardar Patel ji ko milna chahiye tha… utna nahin mila intihas mein… azadi ke baad… (Both Netaji and Sardar Patel were deprived of their due respect after Independence).”
He said, “It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who honoured both the freedom fighters and inaugurated ‘flag point’ in Andaman which is the exact spot where Netaji Subash Chandra Bose hoisted the Indian flag for the first time on Indian soil on the 30th December 1943. Not least, we built a statue of unity at Kevadia (in Gujarat) to honour the contribution and sacrifice of Sardar Patel during the freedom struggle. We cannot forget his contribution behind making a ‘mazboot bharat’ (strong India).”
“In future, we have plans to make Andaman and Nicobar Islands as the ‘tirthsthan’ (shrine) for ‘desh bhakts’. We have already started celebrating Netaji’s birth anniversary as ‘Parakarm Diwas’ and soon we will build a grand monument of Netaji in Port Blair. I would like to request all the youth of this country to visit Andaman once to understand the sacrifice made by our freedom fighters,” he added.
The union home minister, while inaugurating the newly-built Humfrey Strait Bridge, announced that the stretch will be known as ‘Azad Hind Fauj Bridge’ in memory of Netaji’s famous ‘Great Escape’.
On January 16, 1941, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who was under house arrest following his release from prison in December 1940, escaped during the night, under the nose of India’s British rulers.
“This bridge is dedicated to Netaji’s daring escape and whenever we will cross this bridge, it will remind us how Netaji fought for our freedom,” Shah said.
The 1.45-km Humfrey Strait Bridge connecting South and Middle Andaman between Gandhi and Uttara ferry ghats was constructed by National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) for Rs 202 crore. It is the longest bridge in Andaman.
Referring to the Anglo-Manipur War during the freedom struggle, Shah said, “We cannot forget the contribution of Manipur and its bravery against the British during the freedom struggle. Then, Maharaja Kulachandra along with 22 freedom fighters were exiled to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Today, to honour those brave freedom fighters I would like to rename Mount Harriet (third-highest peak in the Andaman and Nicobar) as ‘Mount Manipur’ in Port Blair.”
Shah also said 14 developmental projects worth Rs 299 crore and foundation stones of 12 projects worth Rs 643 crore were already laid in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and assured that the central government is committed to the development of this archipelago.