Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 15
Kin of Jallianwala Bagh martyrs have given an ultimatum to the Centre and the state government to reopen the historic site within a span of 15 days. Amid the Covid -19 restrictions, the proposal to reopen the ‘facelifted’ Jallianwala Bagh for the public was put on back burner.
After skipping many deadlines, the Bagh was proposed to be dedicated to the public on April 13 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also chairman of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust, was supposed to unveil the renovated historic site virtually from New Delhi. At the eleventh hour, the programme was deferred as the state government had imposed ban on public gathering till April 31.
Mahesh Behl, who had lost his grandfather advocate Lala Hari Ram Behl in the 1919 massacre, said that if the governments did not open Jallianwala Bagh within a fortnight, they, along with their families, would have no option but to stage sit-in outside the historic Bagh. “We will stage dharna at the gate of Bagh where our ancestors had laid down their lives to lay the foundation of freedom struggle”, he said.
He said that every year martyrs’ families pay homage to the departed souls on April 13, but this time they were not allowed by taking an ‘excuse’ of Covid threat.
“In 2020 during the lockdown, it was justified to close it and we accepted that. But now when the religious places like the Golden Temple, the Durgiana Mandir and other public places could be thrown open, what was the hitch to open Jallianwala Bagh?”,he asked. Due to renovation work, the memorial has been lying closed since February 15, 2020.
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