A commemorative stamp in memory of freedom fighter and veteran journalist Lala Jagat Narain, who was gunned down 32 years ago for opposing terrorism in Punjab, was released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Monday.
Releasing the Rs 5-denomination stamp at his residence, the PM said journalists should be honest, fearless and neutral while performing their duty, even in trying circumstances.
The stamp was released in the presence of a host of dignitaries, including BJP leader LK Advani, union ministers Manish Tewari and Kapil Sibal, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh, former law minister Ashwani Kumar and former IPS officer KPS Gill, besides editor-in-chief of Punjab Kesari newspaper Vijay Chopra.
The PM said Jagat Narain, in his career as a journalist, had opposed efforts to control the media and "his fearlessness is an example".
Highlighting that Jagat Narain had opposed terrorists and had to pay with his life, the Prime Minister said he had left an important message on the role of media: "a journalist should be honest, fearless and neutral while performing duty, even in trying circumstances".
The veteran journalist was shot dead near Ludhiana on this day (September 9) in 1981 when terrorism in Punjab was at its peak.
Manmohan recalled that Jagat Narain left his studies at the age of 21 and joined the non-cooperation movement on Mahatma Gandhi's appeal.
Even in jail, he contributed to the freedom struggle by working as a secretary to Lala Lajpat Rai, he said.
He was again jailed for three years for participating in the Quit India Movement and spent nine years behind bars during the freedom struggle.
He said the three newspapers published by Jagat Narain's Hind Samachar Group had a daily readership of more than 33 lakh.