Punjab govt to build Jallianwala Bagh massacre memorial with soil from 13k villages

Amritsar: The Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government will build a memorial on the occasion of the centenary commemoration of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre here with soil from all 13,000 villages of the state.

As per an official note issued by the Chief Minister’s office, the Rural Development and Panchayats have been designated as the nodal department to coordinate with the Panchayats of all villages across the state for this cause.

The Chief Minister has also asked Amritsar Deputy Commissioner to identify a strategic spot in the city where the memorial could be erected with soil brought from these villages. He also directed the Cultural Affairs and Tourism Department to engage with the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which had created the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar, to conceptualise and plan the memorial.

“The Chief Minister has asked the Principal Secretary Cultural Affairs to coordinate with all the concerned departments to ensure a grand function at Amritsar on April 13, 2019. Captain Amarinder also asked the ACS Home to make elaborate security arrangements to ensure hassle-free access to the people for paying respects to the martyrs at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial. At the same time, he said, the devotees visiting Sri Darbar Sahib should not be put to any sort of inconvenience caused during the centenary commemorations,” the note read.

In addition to erecting the memorial, Amarinder suggested that the Department of School Education should include a chapter in its curriculum on the Jallianwala Bagh carnage to “imbibe the spirit of patriotism and nationalism amongst the students.” He also asked the ACS Higher Education and Secretary School Education to organise seminars, symposiums, declamation contests and panel discussions on the various aspects of the tragedy.

Responding to the suggestion, ACS Higher Education SK Sandhu informed that national seminars, along with symposiums on the theme of Jallianwala Bagh would be organised, in addition to printing and distribution of pamphlets and folders and staging of Nukkad Nataks.

Apprising the Chief Minister about the decisions taken by the State Level Implementation Committee, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that with a special focus on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the Art and Culture Heritage Trust would organise a Heritage Walk in the old Amritsar town, in addition to an exhibition depicting some known and unknown facts about the massacre. Apart from these, an exhibition would also be held in 10 cities of the state to highlight the saga of the Indian freedom struggle.

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired machine guns into a crowd of unarmed protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab.

The British government had released figures stating 379 dead and 1,200 wounded.