Siliguri, March 4,
The JK Tyre Himalayan Drive 7, India’s only international TSD (Time, Speed, Distance) rally, ended on an intense, patriotic note late on Saturday, with the participants paying homage to the martyrs of the Pulwama terror strike and the winners dedicating their victories to the country’s armed forces.
The three-time champions, Ajgar Ali and Mohammed Musthafa, made it even more memorable by their touching gesture of donating their entire prize money of Rupees one lakh to a fund that will help the families of the fallen CRPF soldiers.
The rally’s prize distribution ceremony at Club Montana Vista in Siliguri on Saturday evening commenced with the national anthem, followed by a two-minute silence in memory of the victims of the perfidy at Pulwama.
Among the dignitaries present were the Deputy Inspector General of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Amit Kumar, Air Commodore (retired) S.K.Agarwal, Siliguri Range Deputy Inspector General of CRPF Sunil Kumar Sabita, Colonel Jagdeep Singh and Income Tax Commissioner Pankaj Kumar.
The dignitaries, including representatives of the sponsors, the competitors and the organisers, lit candles in front of a collage of portraits of the Pulwama martyrs. Air Commodore (retired) Agarwal, speaking on behalf of India’s armed forces, recalled his training as a fighter pilot and the commitment of soldiers to sacrifice their lives for the country.
He also recalled interacting with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was a high school student when Agarwal was posted at an IAF base along with Abhinandan’s father Air Marshal (retired) S Varthaman.
At the prize distribution ceremony that followed, most of the winners in the various categories dedicated their successes to the country’s armed forces. Rally champion Ajgar Ali from the port town of Haldia in West Bengal announced, to thunderous applause, that he would donate his prize money of One Lakh Rupees to the CRPF welfare fund for martyrs’ families.
The gesture was widely appreciated. Ajgar’s younger brother Shaikh Ibrahim, who came fourth in the open category, also dedicated his victory to India’s armed forces and thanked the country’s soldiers for guarding the country in the face of extreme adversities. The winners in the other categories also paid homage to the armed forces and to fallen soldiers.