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Congress chief no longer a permanent member of Jallianwala Bagh Trust

LS passes change removing Congress president as permanent member of Trust managing monument

Amid charges that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to rewrite history, the Lok Sabha on Friday amended the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Bill to remove the Congress president as a permanent trustee.

The Bill was passed by a division of votes in which 214 members voted in favour while 30 were ‘against’ even as the Congress walked out in protest.

Earlier, the debate witnessed very sharp and personal exchanges between members from Punjab. Shiromani Akali Dal member and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal alleged that a close relative of the Punjab Chief Minister had lauded General Dyer, who had ordered the shooting at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919.

The exchange prompted Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to urge members to refrain from ‘doing politics’ over freedom fighters and the freedom movement.

Moving the Bill, Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said national memorials could not be “political memorials” and ought to be kept away from politics. “No political party can claim hold over a trust like the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial.’’

Hitherto, the trust that manages the memorial had included the Prime Minister as the chairperson, with the president of the Indian National Congress, Culture Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Punjab Governor and the Punjab Chief Minister as its members.

But now, the Congress chief is being removed as a member while the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha is being added as a member of the trust.

Opposing the Bill, Congress member Gurjeet Aujla said: “This government wants to distort history, destroy history. You cannot remove the sacrifice of the Congress to the country’s freedom struggle”.

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 2:34:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-chief-out-of-jallianwala-bagh-trust/article28800514.ece

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