Srinagar:  A year on, Pulwama martyrs have been immortalized in `Shaheed Van’ (Forest for martyrs).

Thanks to CRPF’s Recruit Training Centre (RTC) Humhama, each of the 40 Pulwama martyrs has now a tree planted in his name to make him immortal for life. 

The RTC has earmarked a patch of land inside the sprawling campus where 40 deodar trees have been planted in the name of Pulwama martyrs.  Each tree has a placard with name, rank and address of the martyr in order to highlight the sacrifice they made for the nation.

“We will not forget and we will not forgive. This is our mission towards the martyrs. Therefore we thought to make them immortal for life. So we decided to plant 40 trees in the name of each martyr. Each martyr will have a dedicated tree”, said a senior CRPF officer.

More than 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into CRPF convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway at Lethpora in Pulwama district on February 14.

Last year, CRPF chose the occasion of 30th raising day of RTC to plant trees. All cultural and entertainment programmes were cancelled to mark the occasion. Only two programmes were organized — blood donation camp and plantation drive.  A small patch of land with 40 trees was dedicated to martyrs of Pulwama. 

Named Shaeed Van, RTC has put a dedicated staff for the maintenance of the trees planted in the name of martyrs. The staff has been entrusted the job of watering the trees regularly and monitoring their growth to make it the reference point for the future. 

“The trees are being looked after. Watering of plants and removing wild grass are being done regularly. Plus the aesthetics of the park is being maintained”, said an officer.

What surely is going to add a new dimension to the whole saga is that the CRPF plans to bring family members of the martyrs to visit this Shaheed Van once trees grow. 

“We shall be paying homage to the martyrs in a solemn ceremony on February 14. We shall also organize blood donation camp in memory of martyrs”, said Desh Raj, Commanding Officer of 185 battalion of CRPF.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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