A protest in 2008 had stalled a move to widen the historic lane used for entering the Jallianwala Bagh. Student unions led by Jalandhar-based Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall Committee had led the protest after coming to know that a move was afoot to alter one entry and two exit lanes to the Bagh.
“In 2008, freedom fighter Comarade Satpal Dang, one the trustees of Committee from Amritsar flagged it up that in the name of renovation, the Union Ministry of Culture was trying to destroy the historical monuments by demolishing three historic lanes including, one main and two tiny lanes for exit, to facilitate wider entry point for VVIP vehicles,” said Naunihal Singh, then general secretary of DBYHC.
He added: “We started our protest and even the last Ghadari Baba, Bhagat Singh Bilga (then 101), actively participated in that protest. We had even sought the intervention of the Prime Minister. The two small lanes, which were used for exit purpose, out of three were already demolished. But our protest save the main entry lane. We had demanded restoration of the other two, but they could not be restored in original form.”
Naunihal Singh informed that it was through this main entry lane that General Dyer had entered the Bagh with his British soldiers. The Committee, back then, had also approached Punjab and Haryana High Court with a petition to keep the original structure of the Bagh intact.
President of Jallianwala Bhagh National Memorial Trust Secretary Sukumar Mukherjee, however, said that main entry point was intact as it was 100 years back. Asked about the other two small lanes, he said that the place is now surrounded by houses from all sides, rest everything is in its original form. No one could be contacted from Ministry of Culture.
The DBYHC has also been collecting literature to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. It recently procured a book written by famous Punjabi poet Babu Feroz Din Sharaf titled ‘Dukhan De Kirne” (Tales of Sorrow).
“This book was banned by the Britishers then and they took literature related to the massacre to UK but gradually we are procuring such rare works now,” said general secretary of DBYHC, Gurmeet Singh.