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‘Insult of Martyrs’: Renovation of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Sparks Huge Outrage
Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Revamp: While netizens have accused the government of destroying history in the name of renovation, the Opposition leaders have termed it as an "insult of martyrs".
New Delhi: The renovated complex of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial that was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sparked huge outrage amid netizens as well as leaders of Opposition parties. While netizens have accused the government of destroying history in the name of renovation, the Opposition leaders have termed it as an “insult of martyrs”.
Taking to Twitter, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury was the one to launch a scathing attack on the government for the renovation. He wrote, “Insulting our martyrs. Jallianwala Bagh massacre of Hindus Muslims Sikhs who gathered together for Baisakhi galvanised our freedom struggle. Every brick here permeated the horror of British rule. Only those who stayed away from the epic freedom struggle can scandalise thus.” Yechury’s tweet came in response to historian S Irfan Habib’s tweet who also strongly criticised the revamp of the memorial.
Insulting our martyrs.
Jallianwala Bagh massacre of Hindus Muslims Sikhs who gathered together for Baisakhi galvanised our freedom struggle.
Every brick here permeated the horror of British rule.
Only those who stayed away from the epic freedom struggle can scandalise thus. https://t.co/KvYbl840qE
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) August 30, 2021
The historian wrote, “This is corporatisation of monuments, where they end up as modern structures, losing the heritage value. Look after them without meddling with the flavours of the period these memorials represent.”
This is corporatisation of monuments, where they end up as modern structures, losing the heritage value. Look after them without meddling with the flavours of the period these memorials represent. https://t.co/H1dXQMmft7
— S lrfan Habib (@irfhabib) August 30, 2021
Adding to the long list of criticisms, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too slammed the move and 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. Tagging a report on the social media outrage over the revamp of the memorial, 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.
जलियाँवाला बाग़ के शहीदों का ऐसा अपमान वही कर सकता है जो शहादत का मतलब नहीं जानता।
मैं एक शहीद का बेटा हूँ- शहीदों का अपमान किसी क़ीमत पर सहन नहीं करूँगा।
हम इस अभद्र क्रूरता के ख़िलाफ़ हैं। pic.twitter.com/3tWgsqc7Lx
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 31, 2021
Here are some other reactions of the common man about the renovated Jallianwala Bagh Memorial:
This is the original entrance – the one taken by Dyer. Before and after: pic.twitter.com/fuxkJUPq7J
— Kim A. Wagner (@KimAtiWagner) August 28, 2021
Devastated to hear that Jallianwala Bagh, site of the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, has been revamped – which means that the last traces of the event have effectively been erased. This is what I wrote of the memorial in my book, describing a space that has now itself become history. pic.twitter.com/GypQfrOulq
— Kim A. Wagner (@KimAtiWagner) August 28, 2021
Construction workers ‘repairing’ the wall at Jallianwala Bagh. Bullet holes from April 13, 1919 can be seen covered with black patches.
The rest has been ‘renovated’ and will be visible during the ‘song & light show’
“Ab bhi jiska khoon na khaula, khoon nahi woh paani hai…” pic.twitter.com/ikJbncFDhQ
— Sakshi (@MujeSakshiMaano) August 30, 2021
Jallianwala Bagh passage way through which General Dyer passed. Not really happy with this. Should have been preserved in its original form. Don’t make it like the lobby of a Gurgaon Real estate office. pic.twitter.com/MIm5l8fE5l
— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) August 29, 2021
Heartbreaking to see Jallianwala Bagh’s historic entrance permanently destroyed by way of renovation. Those walls told stories. Their plainness reminded Indian visitors of their own neighbourhoods, their own homes. https://t.co/CTn77e2omX
— Siddharth Singh (@siddharth3) August 29, 2021
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.
The renovated complex of Jallianwala Bagh memorial was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (August 28). 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.
Join me as we inaugurate the renovated complex of Jallianwala Bagh Smarak today at 6:25 PM. I also invite you to watch the sound and light show. It would display the horrific massacre of April 1919 and instil a spirit of gratitude and reverence towards the martyrs. pic.twitter.com/p2BDHUbXAJ
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 28, 2021
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.