‘Insult of martyrs’: Rahul Gandhi slams govt’s Jallianwala Bagh memorial revamp

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday termed the government’s revamp of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial an “insult to martyrs”, saying only a person who does not know the meaning of martyrdom can inflict such an insult.

Taking to Twitter, the former Congress chief tagged a media report on the outrage on social media over the alleged changes at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial complex with many claiming that it was “destroying history” in the name of makeover.

Gandhi’s attack came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dedicated to the nation the renovated complex of Jallianwala Bagh memorial.

During the event, Modi also digitally inaugurated the museum galleries at the memorial. The event also showcased the multiple development initiatives undertaken by the government to upgrade the complex.

Tagging the report on the social media outrage over the revamp, Gandhi tweeted, “Only a person who does not know the meaning of martyrdom can inflict such an insult on the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh”.

“I am the son of a martyr – I will not tolerate the insult of martyrs at any cost,” he said in a tweet in Hindi. “We are against this indecent cruelty.”

In another tweet, Gandhi said those who didn’t struggle for freedom can’t understand those who did.

Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill alleged the BJP-led central government project 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 ultimate insult to those killed on that fatal day! Shame,” he said.

Congress’ deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi, in a tweet on Monday, said, “Call me a traditional Indian but I am not a fan of installing disco lights on institutions of importance and dignity.”

Such pomp reduces the gravity and horror of the Jallianwala Bagh Smarak to base entertainment, he alleged.

“Similarly the strobe lights on Parliament are also appalling,” Gogoi added.

Stressing that it is a country’s duty to protect its history, Prime Minister Modi had said that events of the past “teach us and give us direction to move forward”.

As part of the inaugural event, a wreath-laying ceremony was also held and two-minute silence was observed in the memory of those killed in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

A sound and light show was held to depict the events of the day of the massacre.

Over 1,000 people were killed and hundreds wounded on April 13, 1919 when British troops fired indiscriminately on an unarmed gathering of thousands who had assembled in Jallianwala Bagh amid nationwide protests against the Rowlatt Act which had extended wartime repressive measures.

Reaction of the Twitterati

Reacting over the memorial revamp, Indian businessman Suhel Seth twitted, “I don’t know who is the brain behind defacing both the soul and the body of Jallianwala Bagh. It was and will remain sombre and grave. People were mercilessly killed. To have a son et lumiere and that wretched design shows how removed we are from any level of refinement”.

One of the twitterati wrote, “The martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh are now protagonists of a sound and light show. How much lower can this government fall! #Shame“.

With inputs from agencies

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