Defence Minister Rajnath Singh arrives at the Police Memorial Ground on the occasion of the Police Commemoration Day Parade in New Delhi.
The National Police Commemoration Day is observed every year on October 21st to pay homage to the gallant police personnel killed on duty during the year. Every Indian citizen must make it a point to visit the National Police Memorial and Museum on their next trip to New Delhi, exhorts Ivor Vaz
While the date might not ring a bell for the common man, October 21 is a red letter day in India’s history, and an important one at that. The National Police Commemoration Day (or Police Martyr’s Day) is observed every year on October 21st to pay homage to the brave policemen and women who have sacrificed their lives while discharging their duties. So far since Independence, 34,418 police personnel have lost their lives while safeguarding the integrity of India, and providing security to people of this country. 414 did so over the last year alone. Rich tributes are paid to the martyrs on this day across the nation.
A BRIEF HISTORY
In the chilling winter at a height of 10,500 feet, it was the CRPF which bore the brunt of the first onslaught of the Chinese aggression at Hot Springs in Ladakh on October 21, 1959, when a small CRPF patrol was ambushed and heavily outnumbered by the Chinese army. In the ensuing battle, 10 CRPF men were martyred in the line of duty.
THE INCIDENT: AS IT HAPPENED
Till the autumn of 1959, the CRPF was responsible for manning the 2,500 mile long border of India with Tibet (now China). On October 20, 1959, three reconnaissance parties were launched from Hot Springs in North Eastern Ladakh in preparation for further movement of the Indian expedition which was on its way to Lanak La. While members of two parties returned to Hot Springs by afternoon of that day, the third one comprising of two Police Constables and a Porter did not return. All available personnel were mobilised early next morning (October 21, 1959) in search of missing personnel. At about noon, Chinese Army personnel were seen on a hillock. They opened fire and threw grenades at the Indian contingent, which was caught completely unaware and had no place to hide. Ten brave police personnel were killed whereas seven others sustained injuries. The seven injured were taken prisoners by Chinese, while the remaining managed to escape. Later, the seven Indian policemen who were imprisoned managed to escape from the Chinese troops. On November 28, 1959, the Chinese Army handed over the dead bodies of the martyred policemen to India. Their cremation was held with full police honours at the Hot Springs in Ladakh.
POLICE COMMEMORATION DAY
In order to commemorate the exceptional act of valour by the brave men of CRPF, the National Police Commemoration Day was instituted at the Annual Conference of Inspectors General of Police of States and Union Territories held in January 1960. Since 2012, the Police Commemoration Day Parade is being held at a national level at the Police Memorial, Chanakyapuri, in New Delhi each year.
A FITTING TRIBUTE
The National Police Memorial, which stands tall in Kautilya Marg, Diplomatic Enclave, in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, commemorates the police personnel whose lives were lost in the fight against terrorism, militancy and insurgency in states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and red corridor-affected regions in India. The memorial also commemorates the large number of police lives which were lost in prevention of crime and in maintenance of law and order.
The memorial was first conceptualised in 1984, but the plan to have a National Police Memorial was only first proposed when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. The Home Minister at the time, L.K. Advani, laid the foundation stone. The earlier memorial was a 150 ft. (46 m) structure of steel. But it was dismantled in 2008 on the order of the Delhi High Court as it violated environmental norms.
The memorial, built a few years ago, has now been refurbished and the central structure has been enhanced by replacing the old rock structure. The present National Police Memorial is spread across 6.12 acres (2.48 hectares) and consists of a 30 ft. (9.1 m) tall and 238 tonne heavy black granite central sculpture, a museum, and a ‘Wall of Valour’ bearing the names of all 34,844 police personnel who have died in the line of duty. The museum, which is located underground, is the first police museum of its kind in India, and showcases over 2,000 years of policing in the region, since the time of Kautilya’s system of law and order in 310 BCE.
The renovated and refurbished memorial and museum was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 21, 2018.
Remember The Martyrs
NATIONAL POLICE MEMORIAL
The central sculpture is a 30 ft. (9.1 m) monolith made of a slab of granite weighing 238 tonnes. The weight and colour symbolise the gravitas and solemnity of the supreme sacrifice. At the base of the structure, a 60 ft. (18 m) river represents the continuous self-service of the police personnel in carrying out their duties. The central memorial sculpture has been designed by Advaita Gadanayak of the National Gallery of Modern Art.
WALL OF VALOUR
Designed as part of the overall design scheme by architect Uday Bhat the names of all the 34,844 personnel who died in the line of duty from 1947 to present day are engraved on the granite, including 424 who died in 2018.
NATIONAL POLICE MUSEUM
The National Police Museum is the first of its kind in India. The museum is underground and consists of five galleries over 1,600 square meters. There are sections dedicated for various central and state police forces in India including Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Special Protection Group (SPG), National Security Guard (NSG), Rapid Protection Force (RPF), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Intelligence Bureau (IB). Police forces from all 29 states and 7 Union territories are presented, including special mention for women squads, police bands and animal squads (camel, dog and pigeon post). The role of police research organisations have also been mentioned such as the Bureau of Police Research and Development, the National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science and the National Technical Research Organisation.
The martyrdom and stories section includes Operation Vajra Shakti (2002), Operation Puttur (2013), the killing of Veerappan (2004), and the death of Vandana Malik (1989), the first female Indian Police Service officer killed in the line of duty, and various other stories.
The museum project is being steered by the Intelligence Bureau, in coordination with the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) that function under the command of the Union Home Ministry.
Turning The Dream Into A Reality
Last October, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated and dedicated to the nation a refurbished National Police Memorial and a newly-built National Police Museum for the khaki-donning forces. A 30-feet-tall and 238-tonne heavy black granite central sculpture honouring the slain troopers, a museum and a ‘Wall of Valour’ bearing the names of over 34,800 martyred personnel were unveiled during the event held to mark the National Police Commemoration Day.
The Prime Minister then led the people present for the event into laying wreaths on the memorial in the honour and memory of the police personnel killed in the line of action. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministers of State in the Home Ministry Kiren Rijiju and Hansram G. Ahir, Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Jain, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, along with senior officers and personnel of various Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and state police forces were present during the event.
While dedicating the National Police Memorial to the nation in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice made by police personnel since Independence, Prime Minister Modi accused the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for its failure in constructing the memorial earlier. He said that the previous government was not serious about building the memorial, and the he was “chosen by God to do the good work.”
Modi demanded to know why it took 70 years after Independence (and 60 years since the fateful Hot Springs incident) to turn the memorial into a reality. The plan to dedicate such a memorial in honour of the country’s police force was first conceptualised in 1984. The project was even green lighted by the government, but never saw the light of day. It was Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who first took the initiative during the NDA’s reign. Lal Krishna Advani, who was the Home Minister then, laid the foundation stone for the memorial in 2002.
“I know that the construction work got affected because of some legal problems. But had the earlier government wanted, or sincerely tried, this memorial would have been completed several years ago. Unfortunately, the UPA government allowed dust to settle on the stone laid by Advaniji. When the NDA government came to power in 2014, we immediately passed the budget for it. As you can see, the memorial is ready today.
I would like to dedicate it to the nation,” Modi said.
Two Commemorative Postage Stamps Issued
A set of two commemorative postage stamps of the values of ₹15 and ₹10 was issued by India Post on December 22, 2018.
The First Day Cover (FDC) showing the National Police Memorial at left is titled ‘Rashtriya Police Smarak’ (in Hindi) and ‘National Police Memorial’ (in English). At right is the Miniature Sheet (MS) cancelled set of two stamps of ₹15 and ₹10, showing the National Memorial images.
The special Cancellation handstamp presents the National War Memorial in the centre. The Cancellation stamp is of New Delhi Head Office and is dated December 22, 2018.
The Miniature Sheet (MS) of the two stamps of ₹15 and ₹10 values extends to show the Wall of Valour, on which the names of all police personnel who laid down their lives in the line of duty from Independence (1947) until 2018, are engraved.
POLICE COMMEMORATION DAY OBSERVED IN KARNATAKA
PAYING TRIBUTE TO MARTYRS
POLICE COMMEMORATION DAY OBSERVED ACROSS THE COUNTRY