Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 4
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday completely ignored the Father of the Nation as he inaugurated a year-long programme rolled out by the Uttar Pradesh government to “celebrate” the centenary of the Chauri-Chaura incident, a milestone in the history of non-violence preached by Gandhi.
The inaugural function, which took place at Gorakhpur in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, was addressed by Modi through video-conferencing from Delhi.
The Non-Cooperation Movement against the British was called off by Gandhi after violence erupted in Chauri Chaura on February 4, 1922 leading to the death of 25 people - 22 police personnel and three civilians.
The step is lauded as a demonstration of Gandhi’s unwavering commitment to the ideal of Ahimsa.
Modi, however, did not mention even in passing the name of Gandhi or his step of calling off the Non-Cooperation Movement following the violent incident in Chauri Chaura.
The Prime Minister said that the “martyrs of Chauri Chaura” had been ignored by those who chronicled the history of our freedom struggle. While stating that various schemes had been unveiled for supporting academic projects on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Independence, Modi appealed to scholars to write books on the Chauri Chaura incident.
“People know it simply as an incident in which the agitators set a police station on fire. Actually, fire was burning in the hearts of the protesters,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said 19 people were executed by the British to avenge the killing of the police personnel at Chauri Chaura. Only on rare occasions so many freedom fighters were executed in connection with a single incident, Modi said.
Modi named Baba Raghav Das, spiritual guru-turned freedom fighter, and Madan Mohan Malaviya, founder president of Hindu Mahasabha and Congress leader, saying the intervention by these two had saved the lives of a number of others lined up for execution by the British following the incident.
The incident was a huge inspiration for the freedom movement, Modi said in the function which was attended by a large number of schoolchildren besides others. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel also took part in the function from Lucknow through video-conferencing.
On Wednesday, 1.4 lakh students from across 75 districts of the state sang “Vande Mataram” in unison while standing in a salute pose to commemorate the centenary of the incident.
Modi on Thursday also released a postage stamp issued by the Department of Posts in memory of the incident.
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