By Mahesh Nayak
Mangaluru, April 17, 2015: Respect for slain soldiers should come naturally to the uniformed forces. But it obviously isn’t so for the Kadri Police, judging by the mindless manner in which it has chosen to dump junked vehicles outside the city’s War Memorial. This monument is situated in the station’s vicinity. Its approach is now littered with an ugly line up of rusty old vehicles and unused police barricades – making for an eyesore for the passerby.
The War Memorial is located on Kadri Hills adjacent to the All India Radio station. Kadri Police Station is situated right across the road. Its inscription reads: “To the memory of all ranks of the armed forces from Dakshina Kannada District who gallantly laid down their lives in defence of their motherland”. It was dedicated on 29 January 1992, by the then state Governor Khurshed Alam Khan. Comprising a single stone obelisk in the centre, it is surrounded with lush greenery evoking respect for our servicemen and peace for our motherland. This is also the venue for observing important days like Vijay Diwas and Kargil Vijay Diwas.
Being in the shadow of the martyrs 24x7 should have inspired greater sense of rectitude, devotion to duty and selfless service among our cops. Instead they have thoughtlessly desecrated this beautiful memorial with junk. These are mostly confiscated vehicles, abandoned cars and those damaged in accidents. Such pile up of junk is a common sight outside police stations.
War Memorial is owned by Mangalore City Corporation and its upkeep is sponsored and undertaken by Canara Workshops Ltd., the manufacturers of Canara Springs. With green lawns, robust tree cover and zero litter, it is perhaps one of the best maintained public spaces in the city. Hence the ugly sight of junk in such pristine surroundings is all the more disturbing.
In fact one of the first to observe the junk was Premnath Kudva, the Executive Director of Canara Workshops Ltd. He promptly brought the matter to the attention of the authorities, but to no avail. “As we are maintaining the place, we spoke to the Kadri Police about this,” says Premnath, “But they have expressed their helplessness due to lack of space and also because of vehicles not being released due to legal hassles. Of late the number of vehicles being parked there has only increased.”
The police claim of lack of space is quite hollow. Kadri Hills is not like Hampankatta and there is ample land all around. In fact right adjacent to the monument there is a large open yard which presently serves as an informal parking lot for the local bar.
Another person who was not pleased to hear about this is Col. N. Sharath Bhandary, president of Dakshina Kannada Ex-Servicemen’s Association. Expressing outrage over the matter, he said: “Parking of seized vehicles outside the War Memorial is like defacing the monument. War Memorial is a sacred place. Being a uniformed cadre, it is the duty of the police to maintain the sanctity of the place.”
By betraying apathy for protecting the honour of dead soldiers under their watch, Kadri Police seem to have brought only disrepute on to themselves. For, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The martyr cannot be dishonored. Every lash inflicted is a tongue of fame; every prison a more illustrious abode.”