Rahul Gandhi, Punjab CM take different stances on Jallianwala Bagh revamp
Congress leaders have once again taken different stances on the same issue. While former party chief Rahul Gandhi condemned the government’s move to revamp the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Punjab’s Amritsar, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has come out in support of the decision.
“Such an insult to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh can only be done by those who do not know the meaning of martyrdom. I am the son of a martyr - I will not tolerate the insult of martyrs at any cost,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi on Tuesday. “We are against this indecent cruelty.”
Hours after Gandhi’s remark, the Punjab chief minister termed the government’s revamp move “very nice”. “I don’t know what has been removed. To me it looks very nice,” Singh said.
CM Amarinder Singh on Saturday said it must serve as a reminder for future generations about the right of people to peaceful democratic protest.
Several other Congress leaders, including the party’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi, also tweeted on the Jallianwala Bagh memorial issue. Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central government’s project of 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 the ultimate insult to those killed on that fatal day! Shame,” he said.
Gogoi tweeted on Monday that such pomp reduces the gravity and horror of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial to “base entertainment”. “Call me a traditional Indian but I am not a fan of installing disco lights on institutions of importance and dignity,” he said.
Congress general secretary KC Venugopal also lashed out at the government and said that the government has “created an event out of a tragedy”. “BJP not only erased all traces of the massacre by revamping Jallianwala Bagh, but added insult to injury by celebrating with sound&light show!” the Congress leader tweeted on Tuesday.
Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi slammed the government for the renovations and said that the revamp was damaging “our collective history”.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury also criticised the move. “Only those who stayed away from the epic freedom struggle can scandalise this.” “Insulting our martyrs. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of Hindus Muslims Sikhs who gathered together for Baisakhi galvanised our freedom struggle. Every brick here permeated the horror of British rule. Only those who stayed away from the epic freedom struggle can scandalise thus,” Yechury tweeted.
The renovation of Jallianwala Bagh, where more than 1,000 people died 102 years ago, has come under fire, with not just politicians but also historians accusing the planners of ‘Disneyfying’ the monument.
Indian historian S. Irfan Habib said that the revamp of the historical monument is “corporatisation” of monuments and asked the government to look after them without meddling with the “flavours of the periods these memorials represent”.
British historian Kim A Wagner, who has written a book titled “Jallianwala Bagh”, analysing various aspects of the massacre, described the renovation of the Jallianwala Bagh Smarak to mean “that the last traces of the event have effectively been erased”.
Wagner’s post was also retweeted by British Member of Parliament Preet Kaur Gill, who wrote, “Our history- being erased! Why?”