BJP opposes British team’s visit to U.P. cities

Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: The ongoing visit of a team from the British Association of Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA) to places in Uttar Pradesh associated with the 1857 War of Independence has taken a political colour with the Bharatiya Janata Party opposing it.

The BACSA team is scheduled to arrive in this “City of Nawabs” on Monday and proposes to visit The Residency, the main theatre of action in Lucknow during the Great Uprising of 1857, on Tuesday.

The team’s visit to Meerut and Agra on Thursday and to Ghaziabad on Friday had sparked off a controversy with the saffron party leading a strong protest.

BJP members showed black flags to the team when it visited Meerut. In Ghaziabad, ABVP members reportedly vandalised four graves, said to be of British soldiers who died in the 1857 War. A case was registered by the local police.

Senior BJP leader and former Leader of the Opposition Lalji Tandon said here on Saturday that the party was against the team’s visit to Lucknow.

Mr. Tandon warned the district administration that if the team was allowed to visit The Residency for glorifying those who represented the forces of British imperialism, the BJP would launch a protest. The BJP leader demanded a ban on the team’s visit to Lucknow and other places in U.P. The BJP has taken exception to the visit on the ground that while on the one hand the country was celebrating the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence and paying tributes to the martyrs, the British team was eulogising the Britons who perpetrated untold horrors on the countrymen in 1857. Mr. Tandon slammed the Union Government for allowing the British team in.

The party objected to the team’s September 20 visit to the graves of Englishmen inside the Red Fort in Agra. Mr. Tandon said that on that day in 1857, the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was dethroned by the British and then imprisoned in Rangoon.

Victory Day

The BJP has decided to observe “Shaurya Divas” (Victory Day) on Monday at The Residency here. The British team, led by Rosie Llwellyn Jones, includes Sir Mark Havelock, whose great-great grandfather General Henry Havelock led the first relief to The Residency.

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