Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday praised the makeover of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial by the Centre and said the renovated complex “looks very nice” to him. This statement comes hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi termed the government’s revamp of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial an “insult to martyrs”, saying only a person who does not know the meaning of martyrdom can inflict such an insult.
“I don’t know what has been removed. To me it looks very nice,” Captain Amarinder said on being asked about his views on the renovation of the Jallianwala Bagh, located in Amritsar.
Taking to Twitter, Gandhi had tagged a media report on the outrage on social media over the alleged changes at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial complex with many claiming that it was “destroying history” in the name of makeover. Gandhi’s attack came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dedicated to the nation the renovated complex of Jallianwala Bagh memorial.
During the event, Modi also digitally inaugurated the museum galleries at the memorial. The event also showcased the multiple development initiatives undertaken by the government to upgrade the complex. Gandhi tweeted, “Only a person who does not know the meaning of martyrdom can inflict such an insult on the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh”.
“I am the son of a martyr – I will not tolerate the insult of martyrs at any cost,” he said in a tweet in Hindi. “We are against this indecent cruelty.” In another tweet, Gandhi said those who didn’t struggle for freedom can’t understand those who did. Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill alleged the BJP-led central government project giving a makeover to the “Jallianwala passage is not to preserve but erase the marks of atrocities committed by General Dyer during British rule”.
“Central vistafication of Jallianwala Bagh passage is ultimate insult to those killed on that fatal day! Shame,” he said. Congress’ deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi, in a tweet on Monday, said, “Call me a traditional Indian but I am not a fan of installing disco lights on institutions of importance and dignity.” Such pomp reduces the gravity and horror of the Jallianwala Bagh Smarak to base entertainment, he alleged.
“Similarly the strobe lights on Parliament are also appalling,” Gogoi added. Stressing that it is a country’s duty to protect its history, Prime Minister Modi had said that events of the past “teach us and give us direction to move forward”.
As part of the inaugural event, a wreath-laying ceremony was also held and two-minute silence was observed in the memory of those killed in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. A sound and light show was held to depict the events of the day of the massacre. Over 1,000 people were killed and hundreds wounded on April 13, 1919 when British troops fired indiscriminately on an unarmed gathering of thousands who had assembled in Jallianwala Bagh amid nationwide protests against the Rowlatt Act which had extended wartime repressive measures.
(with inputs from PTI)