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Asafwala War Memorial

Many freedom fighters, many soldiers have laid down their lives at the altar for their motherland. All Indians today are indebted to such people who selflessly sacrificed their lives to secure their lives and lives of their future generations. Many memorials have been constructed to remind people about the sacrifices of such valiant men. The Asafwala War Memorial in the Fazilka district of Punjab was constructed to pay homage to the martyrs of the 67th Infantry Brigade who lost their lives during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

It so happened that the Pakistani forces distressed by their defeat in the North declared sudden war in 5 provinces of Punjab on 3rd December, 1971. Under the leadership of Mayor Shabbir Sharif, 6 frontier Pakistani forces suddenly attacked the Gurmi Khera region of the Sulemanki sector of Fazilka. They forcefully occupied the Beri Wala Bridge in the Gurmi Khera region. The Asafwala War Memorial was built to remember the valiant Jat soldiers who sacrificed their lives in this war.

It was around 5:45 am when the Pakistani forces attacked the Fazilka district. The war continued till 17th December. In this span of 14 days, the valiant Indian army was able to retain all its territories that Pakistani forces had earlier taken over. However, they could not retain the Beri Wala region. It is said that these martyrs were happy to have died for a cause that helped the Fazilka district.

Around 226 soldiers of different battalions died in the war. The Jat, Rajput and Assam Regiment soldiers fought to save the land from foreign invasion. In the end, these heroes succeeded in saving their motherland. Sadly enough, they lost their own lives in doing so. These soldiers made life difficult for their opponents.

A voice clip of Pakistani forces can be heard wherein the soldiers ask the Pakistani Air Force to intervene the war operations lest which Pakistani forces won’t be allowed to come back safely, forget conquering other territories.

The leader of 4 Jat regiments, Mayor Narayan Singh died a martyr. He and his men did not care for their own lives in their desperate attempt to save their Motherland. Mayor Narayan Singh was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra.

The war stopped exactly at 8 pm on 17th December 1971. On 18th December, the last rites of the martyrs were performed. A 90 meter long pyre was made to lay the valiant heroes to rest.  A memorial was later constructed at this very place and we call it the Asafwala War Memorial. It is said that people who bow their heads in respect over here are blessed ones.

This memorial was constructed by the people of the Fazilka district in remembrance of their heroes. According to the last wishes of another leader of the Jat regiment R.K. Suri, his ashes have been preserved in this memorial.

The Asafwala War Memorial was inaugurated by Late President of India Gaini Zail Singh. Every year, the Indian Army and the people of Fazilka District celebrate Vijay Diwas on 17th December. The Asafwala War Memorial is maintained by the 4 JATT regiment that was involved in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Many dignitaries, politicians and other socialites have come forward in support of the maintenance of the Memorial. It consists of the names and portraits of all soldiers who took part and sacrificed their lives in the war.

The Fazilka District has always been a part of the disputed region since the Indo-Pak partition in 1947. However, the people of this district have accepted India as their motherland. The people remember these heroes who sacrificed their lives to protect their happiness.

The Fazilka District has developed over time. Schools and colleges have come up and people live a prosperous life. The reason people live freely is not too difficult to locate. 7 kms from the heart of the town lies the Asafwala War Memorial adorned with the portraits of each and every person who defended the District in the cold wintry nights of December 1971. The Asafwala War Memorial reminds its townsmen of the importance of each life sacrificed. Every Indian should remember these sacrifices.

Every Indian should thank those mothers who gave birth to such heroes, who died with a smile for their country. The Asafwala 1971 Indo-Pak Memorial reminds every Indian of the invaluable sacrifices made by valiant heroes to protect their nation.

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