Congress opposes Jallianwala Bagh Bill in Parliament, wants party president to remain permanent member of trust

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Published: July 9, 2019 11:53:20 AM

The Jallianwala Bagh garden in Amritsar houses the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial. It was established in 1951 by the government to commemorate the massacre of innocent people by British forces on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year on 13 April 1919.

Jallianwala Bagh National MemorialThe Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill seeks to remove the mention of Congress president as a permanent member in a trust that manages the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial.

The Congress party has strongly opposed the introduction of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill by the Narendra Modi government in Lok Sabha, saying it betrays the history and heritage of the country. The bill was tabled by Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel in the Lok Sabha on Monday amid protests by the Congress MPs. The bill seeks to remove the mention of Congress president as a permanent member in a trust that manages the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial which was created in 1952.

A similar bill was introduced by the Modi government in its previous tenure as well, but it couldn’t sail through and thus lapsed. The bill, if passed, will delete the mention of ‘President of the Indian National Congress’ as a trustee.

Opposing the bill, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that the bill is politically motivated and denial of the heritage of the country. “…it should be stopped. It is a national memorial, do not betray our history and heritage,” he said.

Culture Minister Patel hit back at Tharoor, saying the Congress did nothing for the memorial in last 40-50 years, adding that he will speak at length, presenting the details, when the bill is taken up for debate and passage.

The Jallianwala Bagh garden in Amritsar houses the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial. It was established in 1951 by the government to commemorate the massacre of innocent people by British forces on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year on 13 April 1919.

The trust which manages the memorial has the Prime Minister as the chairman, President of Indian National Congress, Leader Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Union Culture Minister, Punjab Chief Minister and Punjab Governor as its members. The bill seeks to add the leader of the single largest party in the Lok Sabha as a member of the trust. As of now, only the Leader of opposition is a member of the trust.

Besides, the bill also grants power to the Central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before end of tenure without citing any reason. Former Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry and Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Virendra Kataria, former Union minister Ambika Soni, former MP Harvendra Singh Hanspal are nominated trustees appointed in 2013 for five years.

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