Port Blair: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday claimed that there was a deliberate attempt for years to belittle the contributions of several well-known freedom fighters and even Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel hadn't earlier got due recognition, respect or importance.
Inaugurating various projects here, Shah said that Andaman and Nicobar Islands should be the pilgrim centre for the Indian freedom movement, and youths of the country should know about the sufferings of the revolutionaries during 'Kala Pani' punishment in the archipelago, an official release said.
"The islands are a very important place for patriots as Netaji had first hoisted the Tri-colour on this soil in 1943 and kept it free from the British rule for two years till 1945.
"Still, Netaji and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who unified India after Independence, did not get due recognition, respect or importance for years. There was a deliberate attempt to belittle some well-known freedom fighters and their contributions," Shah said.
He said that the BJP government helmed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempted to undo this by erecting the Statue of Unity of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat, declaring January 23 (birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose) as 'Parakram Divas', and installing a massive Tri-colour on the spot where the Indian National Army chief had unfurled the National Flag in the archipelago.
The Union home minister said that 14 projects worth Rs 299 crore have been inaugurated, and the foundation stone for 12 projects worth Rs 643 crore have been laid in the archipelago, it said.
He said that the bridge that was inaugurated would be named Azad Hind Fauj Bridge to honour Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 35,000-km-long travel across the world for India's freedom.
Mount Harriet, where Manipur's Maharaja Kulchandra Dhwaj Singh and 22 other freedom fighters were imprisoned, would be renamed as Mount Manipur in their honour, Shah said.
He also undertook aerial survey of Rani Lakshmibai Island, Shaheed Island Eco-tourism Project and Swaraj Island Water Aerodrome.