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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Jallianwala Bagh: Rahul Gandhi calls revamp ‘insult to martyrs’, Captain differs — ‘looks nice to me’

Amarinder said he was not aware of Rahul Gandhi's tweet, adding that he does not know what has been removed from the Jallianwala Bagh complex during the renovation of the memorial.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: September 1, 2021 7:57:59 am
The passage leading to the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar after renovation. (Illustration by Rana Simranjit Singh)

HOURS after AICC leader Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to criticise the renovation of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial complex as an “insult to martyrs”, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh deviated from the party line and said that the revamped memorial “looked nice” to him.

Amarinder, however, said he was not aware of Rahul’s tweet, adding that he also does not know what has been removed from the complex during the renovation of the memorial.

Earlier in the day, tagging screenshot of a report on social media outrage over the revamp, Rahul had tweeted, “Only a person who does not know the meaning of martyrdom can inflict such an insult on the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh.”

He added: “I am the son of a martyr — I will not tolerate the insult of martyrs at any cost…We are against this indecent cruelty.”

In Punjab, CM Amarinder Singh chose to disagree. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised to distribute enhanced social security pension of Rs 1500 per month, Amarinder said: “I was a part of the inauguration function of the renovated Jallianwala Bagh when Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw it open for the public. A laser show was also organised. I feel they needed to repair the walls that had developed cracks. The renovation looks nice to me.”

The CM was also told by newsmen that Rahul Gandhi had tweeted on the renovation of the Jalianwala Bagh, but he said he did not know about Rahul’s tweet.

“I can only tell you that I do not know what has been removed but what I saw on that night, I also spoke that night. To me it looked very nice,” Amarinder told reporters.

This is not the first time that Amarinder has deviated from party’s stand on some issue. He had supported the Centre on GST when the Congress was opposing it. He had said it would be beneficial for the states. He had also taken a soft stance on Major Nitin Gogoi who had strapped a stone-pelter on his jeep in strife-torn Kashmir. This was again when the Congress was attacking the Narendra Modi government over the worsening Kashmir situation.

Even this time, Amarinder has decided to differ while other party leaders have been rallying around Rahul.

Soon after Rahul’s tweet, 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, had 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, adding: “Similarly, the strobe lights on Parliament are also appalling.”

Congress insiders, meanwhile, said that the party has been watching Amarinder’s moves closely especially after his detractor Navjot Sidhu’s appointment as PPCC chief. Both Amarinder and Sidhu camps are engaged in a bitter power tussle in the run up to next year’s Assembly polls in Punjab.

(With PTI inputs)

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