Express News Service
CHANDIGARH: The renovation of the historic Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar has evoked criticism from the family members of the martyrs who have termed it ‘an attempt to erase their ancestors’ history’.
These families have written a letter to the Union Ministry of Culture in which they objected against the renovation of the historic ‘Shaheedi Khoo’ (martyr’s well) in which hundreds of freedom fighters had jumped into in a bid to save their lives from the ferocious onslaught from Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer. They demanded the restoration of the original landscape and architecture of the monument.
Talking to The New Indian Express, president of Jallianwala Bagh Freedom Fighters Foundation Sunil Kapoor said, “Yesterday, we wrote a letter to Raghvendra Singh, Secretary, Union Ministry of Culture and raised objections. There are flaws in the renovation of the monument. The tiny alley through which one enters the Jallianwala Bagh has been replaced with murals. Also, the iron grills at the place have distorted the heritage. These should be immediately removed and the old look should be restored as it was a testimony to the cruelty of British troops.
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The (Amar Jyoti) flame, which was earlier at the entrance of the memorial, has also been shifted to the back side of the Jallianwala Bagh. The renovated memorial will not evoke patriotic feelings. Now the visitors would think this place as the same as any other picnic spot.”
Sunil Kapoor is the great-grandson of Lala Wasoo Mal Kapoor who was killed at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919.
“The renovation of ‘Shaheedi Khoo’ (martyrs’ well) has almost been erased its history. The old bricks, grills, crowns on the well have been removed. Now, it is enclosed in glass as the new structure has been erected above.” “The pillar on which Dyer stood and ordered firing has also been erased. It should be rebuilt at the same place.
Kapoor said that the foundation demands that no eatables be allowed inside the monument as it is not a picnic spot. A wall of martyrs should also be erected so that it can depict the individual stories of the martyrs. The members of the foundation led a peaceful protest inside the Jallianwala Bagh on Friday.