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Public rallies banned at Jallianwala Bagh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 14
In an expected fallout of the Jallianwala Bagh episode, a meeting of the Jallianwala Bagh Local Management Committee, presided over by Governor of Bihar RL Bhatia, today banned all political and public rallies on the premises here.

After detailed deliberations during a meeting, Bhatia said the unfortunate incident during the sordid episode two days ago had scarred the memorial. He said the false information that the Jallianwala Bagh was being turned into an entertainment arena led to the vandalisation of the open-air stage.

Meanwhile, the security has been beefed up outside the Jallianwala Bagh memorial. The Deputy Commissioner and the SSP reviewed the security arrangements in view of the damage inflicted by the activists of Bharat Naujawan Sabha and Punjab Students Union to the theatre. The police force would remain at the memorial round the clock to maintain peace.

However, senior BJP leaders, including Balbir Punj, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Shavet Malik (both members of the Jallianwala Bagh’s local committee) after visiting the vandalised site criticised the UPA government for having failed to elicit suggestions from countrymen before taking up renovation of the national monument.

The Governor of Bihar said the national memorial committee headed by the Prime Minister had drawn out a comprehensive plan to revamp the entire memorial. The light and sound show was part of the project to depict the glorious sacrifices of all freedom fighters during the British general’s massacre on April 13, 1919. He said the process to install the show had been delayed due to the damage caused to the platform. Experts, who have been shortlisted to complete the project, had been asked to finish the same on the 90th anniversary of the carnage on coming April 19. Bhatia said the PM was expected to inaugurate the entire refurbished memorial to mark the 90th anniversary.

However, he refused to comment on the alleged lackadaisical approach of the National Memorial trust and the lack of the security at the memorial, saying it was a national memorial where thousands of innocent had made supreme sacrifices to herald the freedom movement.

On the declaration of the Jallianwala Bagh victims as freedom fighters, Bhatia said the committee would put up the list of all those persons whose claims had not been properly scrutinised, adding the committee would look into the fresh list and install the left out names at a special marble plaque at the entrance of the memorial.

Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry of Culture Lov Verma said the National Movement Trust had accorded a sanction of Rs 7.6 crore for the comprehensive development project of the memorial. He said the work had already been undertaken which include fresh landscaping, construction of new block of toilets, availability of drinking water and the construction of boundary wall. He said utmost precautions had been taken to restore and conserve the original structure of the Bagh.

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