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Posted at: Apr 14, 2019, 7:12 AM; last updated: Apr 14, 2019, 3:42 PM (IST)

Amarinder moots memorial to honour unsung heroes

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 13

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday mooted a memorial to honour all those Indians who laid down their lives in various parts of the world during the freedom movement.

Speaking at the centenary commemoration of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre organised by The Tribune to pay tributes to the martyrs and honour their descendants, the Chief Minister emotionally recalled his visit to the Cellular Jail in Andaman after a tsunami left the islands devastated.

Capt Amarinder said he felt ashamed at the fact that he did not know even a single name etched on the walls there. The martyrs had died unsung at the colonial prison, also known as ‘Kaala Pani’, he said.

It was time to remember all such martyrs, said Capt Amarinder, urging The Tribune to help in finding them out so that India could remember and pay homage to those who laid down their lives for the nation. The memorial could be developed in some central city of Punjab, he said.

“The youth must dig deep into the country’s history to discover and remember the monumental sacrifice of all those who helped India gain freedom from the British tyranny,” he said, underlining the importance of learning about history and the sacrifices of those who made it possible for the present generations to live in free India.

Citing references from various books on the subject, the Chief Minister, who himself is a military historian, said “dabbling in history enables one to discover the true story, which in this case was a mix of human, military and historical aspects of the gruesome event of April 13, 1919”. 

New books on the subject and updated versions of the old ones helped in bringing out new historical facts that aided in finding answers to the tragedy-related questions that used to haunt the nation, he said.

The Chief Minister, who arrived at the event directly from Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, said the incident was the culmination of the anger of Punjabis against the draconian Rowlatt Act and General Dyer’s personal motivation “to teach a lesson to the people of India”, which he admitted later to the Hunter Commission probing the massacre. 

“To carry out his agenda, General Dyer drew fully trained and committed men from different regiments, who knew exactly what to do,” he said, questioning the low official figure of the deaths given the area of the Jallianwala Bagh and the capability of the weaponry used. 

“Nobody even knew how many of the wounded had died,” he pointed out. 

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