The fate of INS Vikrant has once again swung between hope and despair ever since it was decommissioned in January 1997. In a bid to save decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant from being relocated, Shiv Sena’snewly elected MP from Mumbai South-Central – Shri Rahul Shewale staged massive demonstration in the front of the Naval gate along with hundreds of Shiv Sainiks.
INS Vikrant was India’s only Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. She played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade on East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. India purchased INS Vikrant from the United Kingdom in 1957. Following its decommissioning, the aircraft carrier was auctioned for Rs 60 crore as the Maharashtra government expressed its inability to maintain and preserve INS Vikrant.
The Supreme Court allowed the shifting of the 70-year-old aircraft carrier in scrap yard, as the Maharashtra government told the apex court that INS Vikrant was in a condition of extreme deterioration and could no longer be repaired or refurbished. After this failure of state government to protect the historic naval vessel, the Shiv Sena has stepped forward to convert the INS Vikrant into a maritime museum.
According to the latest order by the SC, the Indian Navy today morning shifted the decommissioned INS Vikrant from the Mumbai Naval dockyard to Darukhana ship breaking yard.
In a letter to the Indian Navy, Shri Rahul Shewale has said, “People are emotionally attached to INS Vikrant, the ship was once the pride of India and was an inspiration to the youth of the country. It was the dream of late Shri Balasaheb Thackeray to maintain this ship and turn it into a wartime memorial. Shiv Sena executive president ShriUddhavji Thackeray will discuss this issue with the Union Defence Minister ShriArunJaitley soon.”