NEW DELHI, JULY 9: The Congress opposed the introduction of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday. It seeks to remove the Congress president as a permanent member of a trust that runs the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial.
The Bill was moved by Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel and states that it seeks to “delete” the mention of “President of the Indian National Congress” as a trustee. A similar one was brought by the previous Government but it could not get parliamentary nod and lapsed.
Opposing the Bill, Shashi Tharoor of the Congress said it was a “denial of the heritage of the country.”
“The Bill should be stopped. It is a national memorial, do not betray our history and heritage,” Tharoor said.
Responding to the opposition, Patel said the Congress had not done anything for the memorial in the last 40-50 years, adding that he would be responding at length when the Bill came up for debate and passing.
The amendment Bill also paves the way for the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha to be a member of the trust. As of now, only Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha is a member of the trust.
It also confers power to the Central Government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before the expiry of the term without assigning any reason. As of now, the trust which manages the Memorial, has the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, president of the Indian National Congress, Culture Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Punjab Governor, and Punjab CM as its members.
Virendra Kataria, Ambika Soni and Harvendra Singh Hanspal are nominated trustees appointed in 2013 for 5 years, according to the Culture Ministry website. The memorial was established in 1951 by the Central Government to mark the massacre of unarmed people on April 13, 1919 by the British Indian Army under the command of Col. Reginald Dyer. (Courtesy: The Hindu)