“Some goals are so worthy, it’s glorious even to fail.” Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, June 25th 1975 – July 3rd 1999, PVC 1/11-Gorkha Rifles.

The ones who sacrifice everything to fight for and protect the nation pay the highest price for doing it, are the soldiers. Such were the brave Indian Army soldiers who were martyred in a standoff along the Indo-China border in Galwan valley, Ladakh. The state of Sikkim paid tribute to the martyrs on the evening of June 25th.

The programme was graced by Governor of Sikkim, Ganga Prasad and Chief Minister, Prem Singh Tamang, along with Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, MP Lok Sabha, Chief Secretary, DGP and senior officers of the State Government, senior officers of the Army, other dignitaries, Ex-servicemen, members of the Civil Society, Social Organizations, Media personnel and the local gentry.

The programme began with the Shok Shastra Salami or the presentation of arms by Sikkim Armed Police and Sikkim Police Band and laying of a wreath on the Memorial of the 20 martyrs (Shaheed Bedika) by the Governor, Chief Minister and dignitaries. A brief background of the solemn occasion and the names of the Martyrs were elucidated by DIG Range, Sikkim Police, Prawin Gurung.

Thereafter, a two-minute silence was observed as a mark of homage for the martyrs, followed by a gun salute by the Sikkim Armed Police carefully synchronized with the tune of the Sikkim Police Band.

In the meantime, a floral tribute to the martyrs was also offered by representatives of various associations amidst patriotic songs. Thereafter, the artists of the Culture Department presented patriotic songs. The tune of ‘Eh Mere Watan Ke Logon’ reverberated the air as members of the public came forward to pay their tribute to the brave martyrs.

Governor Prasad in his address paid tribute to the brave soldiers as he termed this as the highest form of sacrifice to the motherland. The Governor stated that the people of Sikkim stand shoulder to shoulder with the nation to safeguard against any external forces. He expressed his deepest condolences to the members of the families of the brave martyrs.

The Governor stated that this is new India which has learnt to protect and preserve its territory. He urged the people of Sikkim not to pay heed to any rumour floating around. He reiterated that the country is safe in the hands of the brave Indian Army. He concluded his address with a patriotic poem inciting bravery and valour to deal with any adversity.

Chief Minister Tamang while paying his homage to the brave martyrs reiterated that the purpose of organizing the programme is to reinforce the message to the nation and the world that Sikkim and its people stand with our brave soldiers/martyrs who have made the supreme sacrifice for the country. He stated that the Government and the people of Sikkim are committed to providing all possible support in safeguarding the nation. He said that the country has always been safe under the constant vigil of the brave soldiers.

While paying his tribute to the martyred soldiers, the Chief Minister recounted the sacrifice of all the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who have lost their lives since Independence. He announced that the State Government is presenting an amount of Rs. 1 Lakh each to the families of the 20 martyrs.

On the occasion, National General Secretary, Bharatiya Janta Party, Ram Madhav joined the event through live webcast. He lauded the Government of Sikkim for organizing the befitting tribute to the brave martyrs. Likewise, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for DoNER, Government of India, joined the function through live webcast. In his message, the Union Minister of State congratulated the Governor and Chief Minister for having conceptualized and visualized this homage ceremony. 

Thereafter, a live webcast of the message by Minister of State for Home, Government of India, G. Kishan Reddy was broadcasted. He congratulated the Government of Sikkim on behalf of the Home Ministry, Government of India for organizing the homage programme. The Minister sent out a strong message that the country will not let the supreme sacrifice of the martyrs in vain.

The programme culminated with the lighting of candles and mobile flashlights by the dignitaries and members of the public to pay homage to the martyrs. The entire stretch of MG Marg presented a unique spectacle symbolizing the collective gesture of the people of Sikkim. Cheers of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai and ‘Bande Mataram’ brought the programme to an end symbolising Sikkim’s stand with the nation’s brave soldiers.

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