India must pay homage to COVID-19 warriors, frontline workers on its 74th I-Day: Muraleedharan

NEW YORK: As India celebrates its 74th Independence Day, the country must pay its regards to the multitude of COVID-19 warriors and frontlines workers who have been working tirelessly to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Union Minister V Muraleedharan said on Sunday.
The Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs was the chief guest at a ‘Virtual Kavi Sammelan’ organised by Jaipur Foot USA to celebrate India’s Independence Day.
“Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not possible to celebrate our Independence Day in public with colour and festivity this year as we usually do. However, the pandemic has not dampened our spirits and it is heartening to see that Indian missions and posts, community organisations and diaspora have made elaborate arrangements to celebrate this day with usual fervour in online mode,” he said.
He said that while celebrating the occassion amidst the coronavirus pandemic, “we must pay our regards and respects to those COVID warriors who are the frontline workers in resisting the spread of COVID”.
Muraleedharan said at the virtual event that the pandemic had come as a major challenge not only to India but to the entire world.
Republican candidate for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District Robert Lancia, addressing the event, said the “oldest democracy in the world, the United States and the largest democracy in the world, India, need to be working together closer than ever.”
“But the challenge of China, and the battles on the border that India has been having, so we need to really begin to partner up,” he said.
Describing Indians as a “model” for every family and lauding them for their entrepreneurial abilities, Lancia said that “we want you folks in this country and one of the things I’m promoting when I get elected is going to be to try to change the immigration laws that would favour high skilled workers over quotas by country.
He added that there was need to change immigrations rules under which Indians currently have to wait for decades before they even have a chance at a Green Card.
“We need to change that,” Lancia said.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs P P Chaudhary also addressed the event, which featured poets Kavi Madan Mohan Samar, Abhinav Shukla and performance by Rishab Rikhiram Sharma, who performed at the Howdy Modi event in Houston last year.
Jaipur Foot USA Chairman Prem Bhandari said India’s Independence Day celebration this year was “very special” as it came just days after the August 5 ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, teming it “a dream come true” for Hindus around the world.
Amidst the pandemic, the Independence Day was celebrated keeping in mind social distancing norms across the US.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti hoisted the tricolor at the Permanent Mission of India.
“Indeed a proud moment for me to unfurl the Indian flag in the premises of our Permanent Mission in New York on our Independence Day, along with our team. Jai Hind!” Tirumurti tweeted.
Consul General Randhir Jaiswal hoisted the Indian flag at the Indian Consulate. The iconic Empire State Building in the city was lit up in the hues of the tricolor, a celebration organised by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Muraleedharan also paid tributes to the sacrifices of the Indian Armed forces, saying the Indian soldiers “do not hesitate to sacrifice their lives while safeguarding our freedom and protecting the dignity and sovereignty of our country.
He added that India’s Independence Day this year was “special” as it came just 10 days after the foundation stone of the majestic Ram Temple was laid in Ayodhya.
“The whole world watched the memorable moment that people have been longing for over five centuries. The whole country was ecstatic to witness the foundation stone laying by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
“India’s 74 years long journey in post-independence has been a story of exceptional commitment to its people. In its journey, India has been guided by its ancient wisdom, its civilizational heritage and the vision of our founding fathers,” he said.
Today, India is a successful democracy with strong institutions and the country’s economy is among the largest in the world, he said, adding that “nevertheless, we are constantly striving to make our country even better, and to ensure peace and prosperity to our peoples.”
Muraleedharan noted that the Jaipur Foot and Jaipur Foot USA organisation have been providing artificial limbs at zero to nominal cost to those in need, including children affected by armed conflicts.
The Ministry of External Affairs had launched the ‘India for Humanity’ campaign with a view to help India’s development partner countries, mainly in Africa.
“These special camps, which were launched to commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, have been a huge success and are bringing hope and smiles to millions of faces across the globe,” he said. (AGENCIES)