Jammu: In a touching gesture, Union Minister Smriti Irani, Thursday, celebrated the festival of Raksha Bandhan with army jawans stationed on the Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ms Irani flew on a special Indian Air Force chopper to the icy outpost as part of an initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach out to the soldiers guarding India’s borders.
The union minister personally tied rakhis on wrists of 20 soldiers and wished them and all other soldiers a long and prosperous life. Addressing the soldiers, Smriti Irani said that the country remains indebted to its soldiers, who man the borders of the nation. “An honour for me, to celebrate this festival here with my brothers who guard the borders,” she added.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi are also visiting borders areas and interacting with the soldiers.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce; Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries; and Anupriya Patel, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare are also taking part in the event on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
More than 2,000 people have also been injured with many suffering eye injuries – including children as young as five year olds — from pellets fired by security forces, fanning anti-India sentiments across the Valley.
Media-savvy Wani was the first militant leader to extensively use social media to lure educated youth into the fight for “independence of the disputed region”. Bhat also asked the youth to shun recruitment drive for special police officers (SPOs) saying they will be used to “create another Ikhwan”, a counter-insurgency force formed in the mid-nineties that was accused of human rights violations.