GUWAHATI, Jan 16 - The Guwahati Forum of Conscious Citizens today said in a statement that it was not objecting to the construction of a suitable war memorial in honour of the soldiers who laid down their lives in defence of the country, but only to the choice of the site on the bank of the historic Dighalipukhuri tank.
In a statement, the Forum said that it was reiterating its stand in view of the �barrage of highly misleading propaganda by interested circles� about its protest against the �illegal, wholly unwarranted� construction of a war memorial on the northern side of the historic and environmentally vital Dighalipukhuri tank.
�Dighalipukhuri has not only been a landmark of Guwahati from its growth as a modern town in the late 19th century, but it dates back from ancient times as part of a central water body of capital cities of various dynasties of the Kamrupa kingdom. The public notice placed there on its historic importance by the Government of Assam itself mentions that archaeological remains from the 2nd century AD had been found on that site,� the Forum said.
Apart from its unchallengeable status as a heritage site the preservation of which is mandatory by law, the Forum added that there is also its crucial importance as a natural water body that helps maintain air quality in the heart of the city.
�Large-scale building activities, resultant congestion as well as vehicular pollution are posing a grave threat to the health of the residents of cities including Guwahati. The wilful damage to such a water body is a criminal offence against the well-being of citizens,� the Forum said.
Stating that it was most deplorable that the decision to build the war memorial had been taken in haste and was being executed with unseemly hurry, and that had caused serious irreparable harm to the heritage site and an environmentally beneficial water body, the Forum said that it was high time �the sacrilege was stopped and the ancient site restored to its old beauty and glory.�
The signatories included Dr Hiren Gohain, Dr Dinesh Baishya, Khanin Das, Manjit Mahanta and Mukut Lochan Kalita.