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Why is Jallianwala bagh renovation sparksing controversy?

Why Jallianwala Bagh memorial revamp is being criticized? Explained here

The controversy has arisen regarding the renovation of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar, Punjab. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (August 28) inaugurated the renovated complex of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in Amritsar. Under this, a sound and light show has been arranged to show this gruesome incident of 1919. Apart from this, the complex has been renovated along with repairing the ‘Jwala Smarak’ considered as the central site of this garden, the pond located there has been re-developed as a ‘lily pond’ and allows people to come and visit. The roads located here have been widened for convenience of the public. Many new and modern facilities have been arranged in the complex, including newly developed roads with suitable indicators for the movement of people, lighting of important places, and better landscape with more plantation, rock formation works, and audio throughout the garden. Nodes are included. Apart from this, work has also been done to include Moksha Sthal, Amar Jyoti, and Dhwaja Mast.

Opposition and historians slams jallianwala bagh renovation

Several opposition leaders and historians, including Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury, have called the renovation of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial a tamper with history. Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has targeted the central government and said that such an insult to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh can only be done by those who do not know the meaning of martyrdom.

Tagging a report regarding the renovation of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Such an insult to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh can 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. We are against this indecent cruelty.”

Politicians and historian also slams this renovation

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury also targeted the central government and said, “Those who have stayed away from the freedom struggle can do such a thing.” He tweeted and said, ‘This is an insult to our martyrs. Every brick here is a witness to the dreadful rule of the British, only those who have stayed away from the freedom struggle can do such a thing’.

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said that the renovation of Jallianwala Bagh is causing extensive damage to our shared history. She tweeted and said, ‘The pain was real, the loss was immense, the tragedy was unforgettable. Sometimes places cause pain and remind us of what we lost and fought for. Trying to embellish or modify those memories is doing a lot of damage to our collective history’.

Historian S. Irfan Habib tweeted, ‘It is the corporatization of monuments, where heritage value is being lost in the name of modern structures. Take care of the heritage without tampering with the history.’

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The martyr memorial has been given a new look by spending Rs 20 crore. According to the Indian Express report, there is also a dispute regarding the renovation of the narrow lane leading to Jallianwala Bagh. On 13 April 1919, this street was blocked by British soldiers before firing on the orders of General Dyer. Because of this, it became impossible for anyone to escape from there on that fateful day. In fact, as part of the renovation, the Center has changed the corridors of the memorial, where General Dyer, leading a contingent of the British Army, ordered to shoot at people who were peacefully protesting on crutches.

On 13 April 1919, General Dyer opened indiscriminate fire on unarmed people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to support the nationwide demonstration against the Rowlatt Act, in which about 1,000 people were killed. According to the British, 376 persons were killed in the firing, the youngest of whom was 9 and the oldest 80. Indian historians peg the toll at 1,000. Udham Singh who escaped from the massacre at the age of 21 and vowed to avenge the massacre, and shot dead Sir Michael O’ Dwyer at Caxton Hall in London in 1942.

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Jagisha Arora

MA in History and has worked as a freelance writer. She writes on issues of gender, caste and democracy.
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