JALLIANWALA BAGH MASSACRE : Year on, Amritsar admn yet to identify spot to build memorial
It has been nearly a year since Capt Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government had directed the cultural affairs and tourism department to build a memorial with soil from all 13,000 villages of Punjab to mark centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, but the authorities have failed to even identity a spot for the memorial in the holy city.
As per an official note issued by the chief minister’s office in February 2019, the rural development and panchayats had been designated as the nodal department to coordinate with the panchayats of all villages across the state in this regard.
The CM had also asked Amritsar deputy commissioner (DC) to identify an appropriate spot in the city where the memorial could be erected.
Talking to HT, DC Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, “We have yet to identity the location. A committee of officials from Chandigarh will visit the city for identification of a spot for the purpose.”
Meanwhile, rural and panchayat department director DPS Kharbanda, said, “The first task is to identify the location. Once that is done, we will provide soil for erecting the memorial.”
The CM had also directed the cultural affairs and tourism department to engage with the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which had created the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar, to conceptualise and plan the memorial.
UNAWARE OF PLAN, SAYS OFFICIAL
However, the officials of the cultural affairs and tourism department in Amritsar have no idea of the proposed project. Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board, general manager (GM), Amritsar, Tejinder Singh, said, “I am unaware of this project. Till now, I have not got any instructions from my seniors regarding the memorial. Officials of Jallianwala Bagh trust must be aware of it.”
Jallianwala Bagh Shaheed Parivar Samiti president Mahesh Behal said it is ‘sheer disrespect’ to the martyrs. “Even a year after the CM’s directive, the administration has still not decided the location where the memorial will be built. It must be built at the earliest.”
Rajya Sabha member Shwait Malik, who is also a member of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust, said, “The state government is not only befooling the people, but also disrespecting the martyrs. The Centre is spending Rs 20 crore for the overall development of Jallianwala Bagh, but the state government has contributed nothing.”
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on April 13, 1919, when the troops of the British Army opened fire on a gathering of unarmed Indians.