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Police cell in Punjab’s Jaitu where Nehru was kept in 1923 to be preserved

Nehru was arrested at Jaitu when he and other freedom fighters reached there on September 21, 1923, to take part in the morcha being undertaken under the gurdwara reforms movement.

punjab Updated: Feb 19, 2018 22:57 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
Gagandeep Jassowal
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
Jaitu,Faridkot,Jahawarlal Nehru
The police cell where Jawaharlal Nehru was kept in 1923 in Jaitu in Punjab’s Faridkot district, in a state of neglect on Monday. (HT Photo)

The government of Punjab will undertake a Rs 50-lakh project for facelift and preservation of the police station cell where Jahawarlal Nehru was kept in 1923 during the Jaitu Morcha in present-day Faridkot district, announced tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu during a visit to Faridkot on Monday.

The cell is in a state of neglect near the current Jaitu police station. Nehru, who became India’s first prime minister after independence in 1947, had been arrested at Jaitu when he and other freedom fighters reached there on September 21, 1923, to take part in the morcha being undertaken under the gurdwara reforms movement; and was kept in the cell for a few hours before being sent to the Nabha jail.

“Generations will learn about the contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru for the country,” Sidhu said, making the announcement after a request by Sunil Jakhar, the Congress’ state unit president and MP from Gurdaspur.

Jawaharlal Nehru (Getty Images)
The building that houses a police cell where Jawaharlal Nehru was kept in 1923 in Jaitu in Punjab’s Faridkot district, in a state of neglect. (HT Photo)

Package for cities

Further, Sidhu said the state government has released Rs 1,540 crore as a development package for 107 urban areas in the state, including Rs 216 crore for Faridkot, Kotkapura and Jaitu’s sewerage project.

The project had been inaugurated by the then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of the SAD in 2014 but work is currently on halt. SAD spokesperson Parmanbans Singh Romana too later said Sidhu’s visit was mere eyewash, “These projects started during the Akali regime but the Congress stopped funds due to vendetta.”

Jakhar, however, said, “Sukhbir laid 24 foundation stones for development of sewerage, but the projects saw no progress as he failed to provide the necessary funds. We have arranged the funds first, and then started the work.”

Sidhu reiterated a challenge to Sukhbir Badal for an “open debate” on issues concerning the state. “If I fail to answer Sukhbir’s questions, I will quit politics.” Sidhu said.

On ‘goonda tax’

Jakhar further said the government will “completely eradicate ‘goonda tax’, and also put the big fish in the net”. He claimed, “We have already eradicated the organised ‘goonda tax’ that was run through truck unions.” He said this resulted in savings of Rs 25 crore a season in Abohar alone — Jakhar’s home town in Fazilka district — benefitting traders and farmers.

Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, whose name was dragged into the ‘goonda tax’ allegations by Sukhbir, lashed out at the SAD chief’s “attempt to finish my political career” because, he said, “I have always raised voice against the Badals’ wrongdoings.”

Sidhu also promised “adequate funds” for Kotkapura “as the town has lagged in development due to wrongs policies of the previous government”.

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 21:02 IST