CM opens ‘Jang-e-Azadi’ memorial, freedom fighters’ kin stage protest | punjab | Hindustan Times
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CM opens ‘Jang-e-Azadi’ memorial, freedom fighters’ kin stage protest

The inauguration of much-hyped Jang-e-Azadi memorial at Kartarpur gave some embarrassing moments for the government when the kin of freedom fighters started raising anti-Badal slogans minutes after they were honoured by the chief minister. Family members of more than 400 freedom fighters had been invited for the event.

punjab Updated: Nov 07, 2016 09:36 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Kin of freedom fighters raising slogans against chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday.
Kin of freedom fighters raising slogans against chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday.(Pardeep Pandit/HT Photo)

The inauguration of much-hyped Jang-e-Azadi memorial at Kartarpur gave some embarrassing moments for the government when the kin of freedom fighters started raising anti-Badal slogans minutes after they were honoured by the chief minister. Family members of more than 400 freedom fighters had been invited for the event.

The protesters said the government was wasting money on memorials whereas nothing was being done for their welfare. “Badals had been scoring points by presenting shawls at such functions. They have not fulfilled our demands. On November 2, we met the CM in Chandigarh and put before him our demands, including free bus-pass for wards, 2% quota in government jobs and toll tax waiver. The CM assured that he will make an announcement in this regard at this function. But he did not do that,” said HS Khalsa, state president of freedom fighters and successors’ organisation.

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal during the inaugural ceremony of Jang-e-Azadi memorial near Kartarpur on Sunday. (Pardeep Pandit/HT Photo)

As the protestors were raising slogans against the CM and the deputy CM next to the stage, many guests, including Akali leaders, were seen leaving the venue with their faces hanging.

Jalandhar deputy commissioner KK Yadav tried to calm down the protesters, however, the protesters refused to budge and boycotted the special lunch arranged by the organisers. Some even threw away the shawls presented to them. The police then cordoned off the protesters for nearly 20 minutes and did not allow them to come out of the venue till all VIPs had left.

Punjabis can make any sacrifice for country’s unity, says CM

Recalling the sacrifices made by the Punjabis in the freedom struggle, the CM said Punjabis were ever-ready to do anything to safeguard the unity and sovereignty of the country. Addressing the gathering, Badal said despite Punjab constituting only 2.5% of the country’s population, 80% of people who were executed or incarcerated were from the state. Badal said that it was a humble effort made by the state government to set up Jang-e-Azadi memorial to perpetuate the supreme sacrifices made by our freedom fighters. Shedding light on Punjab’s contribution in the freedom struggle, Sukhbir said Punjab and its people had faced maximum loss of life and property. “This monument will keep reminding us of our rich history,” he said. He said Shiromani Akali Dal was nobody’s personal property. “Neither I nor Badal sahab is the owner, SAD is a party of Punjabis meant to serve Punjab,” he said. State BJP chief Vijay Sampla cautioned the public against getting trapped into the ‘false’ promises being made by the Congress and the AAP

.