Only 12 families of martyrs invited for Jallianwala centenary event

Administration says 501 people had lost their lives in massacre, but descendents of other victims could not be traced.
Punjab police personnel at the Jallianwala Bagh on Thursday ahead of its 100th anniversary in Amritsar being celebrated on April 13.(HT Photo)
Punjab police personnel at the Jallianwala Bagh on Thursday ahead of its 100th anniversary in Amritsar being celebrated on April 13.(HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 12, 2019 09:44 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Amritsar | By Anil Sharma

Only 12 families of those killed in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre have been invited for the programme commemorating the centenary of the event being held on April 13 even as the district administration says as many as 501 people had lost their lives in the 1919 carnage.

The administration says the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust has failed to trace the descendents of the remaining martyrs.

Meanwhile, according to a board put up in Jallianwala Bagh, 379 people, including a seven-month old infant, had lost their lives and around 1,500 were injured. This was published by the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust.

There is only one list of victims available with the district administration which has 501 entries.

The memorial built to honour the victims at the T-point near the entrance of the Bagh lists 473 martyrs whose names have been engraved on the memorial known as ‘Amar Jyoti’.

“We had got the invitation cards from the Central government which had been sent to the trust for inviting the families of the victims,” said assistant commissioner Amandeep Kaur.

Trust secretary and caretaker of Jallianwala Bagh SK Mukherjee said, “We have sent invites to 12 families of the victims. We have been trying our best to trace other families of the victims, but to no avail.”

Rajya Sabha member Shwait Malik, who is a member of the trust, said, “It has been only three months since the BJP government got the control of the trust. Earlier, Congress leaders controlled it for at least 70 years. They are responsible for the failure to trace the families of most of the victims.”

“I will ask deputy commissioner Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon to find out the kin of all those killed during the carnage. The Punjab government should also take responsibility in this regard,” he added.

Satpal Sharma, 82, a retired teacher whose grandfather Amin Chand Sharma was killed in the massacre, said: “100 years have passed, but the government is still not serious about tracing the descendents of martyrs. We are struggling to get the status of martyrs for our ancestors.”

Mahesh Behal, 73, president of Shaheed Parivar Sammiti, said, “We had provided the details of around half a dozen families of the victims who were in our contact. Some families are in Pakistan and the government should have invited them too.”

“We should be treated like the families of martyrs. The government should also give representation to us in the trust. We have requested the district administration to arrange conveyance for the families who have been invited for the centenary function,” added Behal whose grandfather Hari Ram Behal, a lawyer, was killed in the massacre.

VENKAIAH, RAHUL TO ATTEND EVENT

Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu and All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi will attend the function on Friday. In the evening, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh will lead a candlelight march from Town Hall to Jallianwala Bagh for paying tribute to the martyrs.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021