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India launches a Virtual UN Peacekeeper’s Memorial Wall

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Screen-shot-of-Virtual-Memorial-Wall

United Nations: India has launched a virtual memorial wall to honour the UN peacekeeping heroes who died in service as the first step towards building a permanent monument at the UN headquarters.

Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji unveiled the digital memorial wall on Friday at a reception India hosted here to honour the 125 recipients of the Dag Hammarskjold Medal awarded posthumously to peacekeepers on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Two Indians were among those awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal at an earlier ceremony presided over by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the UN.

They are Raju Joseph, a civilian who died while working for the UN operation in South Sudan, and Lance Naik Nand Ram, who served in the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the Indian reception attended by defence officers from around the world in a kaleidoscope of international military ribbons, medals and uniforms, Mukerji invited them to contribute the names of their heroes to the virtual wall that is now hosted by the Indian mission at www.pminewyork.org.

It now has the names and details of 161 Indians who died in peacekeeping operations.

Eventually, a UN Peacekeepers’ Memorial Wall is proposed to be built at the headquarters with the names of the heroes engraved on it.

In a message to the event, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said: “India is justifiably proud of its own long and rich tradition of contribution to the UN peacekeeping operations towards the preservation of international peace and security.”

India has contributed over 180,000 troops to 44 UN missions so far. Currently, 8,112 Indian personnel drawn from the military, police and civilian ranks serve in seven UN operations.

“India has been one of the great peacekeeper contributor countries,” said the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous.

Welcoming the initiative for the memorial wall, he added: “the heroes deserve our admiration for their courage.”

Under Secretary General for Field Operations, Atul Khare, who is from India, paid tribute to the Indians who gave their lives for the UN and noted that they represented more than five percent of all those who died serving the organisation.

“I am delighted with the virtual wall. The real wall will become a reality,” he said.

Mukerji said that the Security Council’s permanent members have failed to have face-to-face meetings with the troop contributing countries while designing the mandates for the operations, even though the UN charter calls for it.

The South Asian countries have highly professional military leadership and the Council could use their expertise, he added.

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh contribute the three largest contigents to the UN operations.

At another ceremony, three Indian military officers and a police officer were awarded UN Headquarters Medal for service to the world organisation at the department of peacekeeping operations.

They are Lt. Col. Bharat Sirohi, Lt. Col. Rajneesh Duseja, Lt. Col. Bharat Bhalla, and Deputy Inspector General P.S. Knegi. (IANS)

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Actress Richa Chadha Extends her Support to Pride Month

Richa was also recently chosen as the face face by Humsafar Trust, an NGO for the LGBTQ community

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Richa Chadha
Richa Chadha. Wikimedia Commons

Actress Richa Chadha has become a part of a special promotional initiative of the US Consulate here to extend support for the Pride Month in India.

A post on the official Instagram account of the US Consulate General in Mumbai, shows Richa posing in a bright yellow ensemble and making a heart gesture with her hands.

Alongside that is a post which reads: “It’s 2019! Obsolete ideas of morality, misinformation about LGBTQIA+ must go. By repealing Section 377, India has joined the ranks of other progressive nations in the world. For the common man, there’s now a growing understanding that being LGBTQIA+ is normal. But repealing the law on paper and having greater acceptability as an LGBTQIA+ in society are very different things.

Richa
Richa Chadha at an event. IANS

“We need to work tirelessly to remove ignorance, misinformation and stigma attached to the community and its choices. Life must be made easier. An open and welcoming approach to the LGBTQIA+ must percolate down to the tier two cities and villages in India, and not stay restricted to the cosmopolitans.”

The actress added: “As a society, we must become more inclusive and aware about all genders and their needs. The role of LGBTQIA allies is crucial in this regard, as we can help bring issues of stereotyping and harassment to the notice of people and popular media. We should team up with artists who fight for freedom of expression, against censorship, and also join hands with those fighting for marginalised groups.”

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Form Committee on ‘One Nation, One Election’

Richa was also recently chosen as the face face by Humsafar Trust, an NGO for the LGBTQ community, to inaugurate India’s first ever holistic medical centre for the people of the community to help them break away from stigmas of general discrimination they may face. (IANS)