Jallianwala Bagh memorial was established in 1951 by the central government to commemorate the massacre by the British of peaceful celebrators including unarmed women and children, on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year on April 13, 1919.
The government on Thursday approved a proposal to replace Congress member in a trust that runs the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial with leader of the single-largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha to make the body “apolitical”. The move will require amendment to the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951. An amendment bill could be brought in Parliament in the winter session beginning December 11. Briefing reporters on the decisions taken by the Union Cabinet Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the trust is perhaps the only government body where a member is from one political party. He said it was “unfair” that only one political party was represented in the trust.
“The decision aims to suitably amend the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951 so as to secure representation as trustees, the Leader of Opposition recognised as such in the House of the People (Lok Sabha), or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then the Leader of the single largest Opposition party in the House,” an official statement said. In the existing Act, there is a provision for representation of a single national political party. “Deletion of the party specific member from the Trust will make it apolitical. The proposed amendment ensures representation of the Opposition party in the trust. The proposed amendment will empower the government to terminate and replace a trustee to participate in functioning of the Trust or for any other reason,” the statement said.
As of now, the trust which manages the memorial, has the Prime Minister as the chairperson, President of Indian National Congress, Culture Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Punjab governor, Punjab CM as its members. Virendra Kataria, Ambika Soni and Harvendra Singh Hanspal are nominated trustees appointed in 2013 for five years, according to the Culture Ministry website. In the present Lok Sabha, there is no leader of the opposition. Jallianwala Bagh memorial was established in 1951 by the central government to commemorate the massacre by the British of peaceful celebrators including unarmed women and children, on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year on April 13, 1919.