Harsimrat Kaur Badal during debate on Jallianwala Bagh bill (Source: LSTV)
Harsimrat Kaur Badal during debate on Jallianwala Bagh bill (Source: LSTV)

Debate on Jallianwala Bagh bill sees Congress, NDA sparring on role in freedom struggle

ANI | Updated: Aug 02, 2019 16:28 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug 2 (ANI): The debate in Lok Sabha on Friday on a bill that seeks to remove the Congress President as a trustee of Jallianwala Bagh Memorial trust saw members of treasury and opposition benches making accusations against each other over the contributions in the freedom struggle.
The bill was moved for passage in the House by Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, who said there should not be politicisation of institutions but their nationalisation.
The bill also saw opposition and ruling side members differing over the purported remarks of a princely state ruler related to the tragic incident in 1919 in which over 1,000 persons were killed.
While Congress member Gurjeet Singh Aujla accused the BJP and organisations linked to it of not having had a role in the freedom struggle, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal hit back at the Congress and raked up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
She said that the
had sent a telegram to General Dyer, who had ordered firing on innocent people in Amritsar, that his action was "correct" and had been approved by the Governor General.
The minister showed some photographs and claimed she was citing history. "I did not write this history. It is recorded," she said.
Congress members strongly objected to her remarks saying that she cannot take names and speak about a person in high office without giving adequate notice.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that Badal, who belongs to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), had not taken any names.
"He (Aujla) has named RSS. He has taken the name of Dr Hedgewar. You have to listen now. There is no option for you," the minister said.
The Speaker said he will look at the records and remove anything objectionable said by Aujla against any member from the ruling side.
Raking up the 1984 riots, Badal said Congress had made one of the leaders against whom allegations had been made as a chief minister.
"How did the riots happen? Which Prime Minister said that if a big tree falls, earth shakes?" she asked.
The minister also said that military action in the Akal Takht premises was ordered by a former Congress prime minister.
She also objected to some names taken by Aujla, who is an MP from Amritsar. "He should show proof," she said.
Aujla accused the BJP-led government of trying to rewrite history and of trying to obliterate contributions of Congress.
He said Congress leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sardar Patel had spent long years in British jails during the freedom struggle. "The name of Congress is there because its leaders made the sacrifice," he said.
Referring to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Aujla said members of the Nehru-Gandhi family had made sacrifices before and after the Independence.
Opposing the bill, he asked what was the "compulsion" of tje government" in wanting to remove the Congress President as a trustee and alleged that the BJP wants to promote members of its ideology.
DMK member Dayanidhi Maran said he was "ashamed to see the scenes" in the House.
"Why are we wasting useful parliament time in rewriting history? Let's proceed," he said.
Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy opposed the bill and said the trust to manage the Jallianwala National Memorial was set up by Mahatma Gandhi.
"Why should the government after 68 years remove the Congress President as a member," he asked.
Roy said the Congress was not the same as it was in the pre-Independence era but it is the successor organization. He accused the BJP-led government of "trying to promote Sangh Parivar style of history" saying it was against national ethos.
Nationalist Congress Party member Supriya Sule said she was disappointed at Badal's remarks though she was her personal friend.
She said it was not right to look at history in isolation and added that Indians go to London even though Britishers ruled the country.
The bill seeks to amend the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951.
The bill amends a provision in the Act to remove the President of the Indian National Congress as a trustee and notes that when there is no Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, the leader of the single largest opposition party will be a trustee.
The bill also allows the central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before the expiry of the period of his term. (ANI)