Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has urged Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to write to the Union government to seek an apology from the British Prime Minister for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
In a letter, he has also demamded re-naming of ‘crawling street’ in Amritsar as Freedom Street or Shaheed-Di-Gali.
Full text of Sidhu’s letter to Capt Amarinder Singh:
“On the 13th day of April, 2019 as we join our nation in paying tribute to the Martyrs and observe the 100th anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The institutional ignorance and unforgiving silence of the Government of India haunts my mind. The sacrifice of the Martyrs at Jallianwala Bagh and Shaheed Udham Singh have been an inspiration for me and 130 Billion Indians.
Jallianwala bagh is a symbol of National Integration and an inspires the idea of India but now when the World is watching, the Union Government failed to seize the moment. Thus, it has fallen upon us to rise to the occasion.
This is the time of retribution and an apology has never been rendered by the British Government for the actions of 13 April 1919. 100 years is a time already too late but yet occasional of an apology. I request you to write to the Indian and British Government seeking an apology from the British Prime Minister for the atrocities. It would go a long way towards bettering people to people contact among our two nations if a strong message of reconciliation is delivered.
I wish to further request you to re-name the crawling street leading to the Jallianwala Bagh as “Freedom Street/Shaheedan-Di-Gali” or any other name that your esteemed self may find suitable for this site of great sacrifice. This street is the historical reminder of oppression wherein colonial rulers made Indians crawl. Renaming the street is the minimum we can do in the hallowed memory of the great sacrifice.
The Jallianwala Bagh today, stands as India’s biggest symbol of national Integration after witnessing one of the most barbaric incidents of colonial oppression.
Even after our repeated attempts the Union Government has not woken up from its deep slumber and not given this place its due importance. In-spite of us preparing a detailed project to revamp the Bagh, my letter to the Prime Minister seeking Rs. 100 crores, which you had supported with your own letter was ignored.
We wanted to have an impressive museum that honours the memory of Martyrs and depicts the historical narration of events. Along with voice-over by renowned lyricist Gulzar Sahab. We requested historian Smt. Kishwer Desai to help us with the project. We also planned a light and sound programme to share with the visitors, the suffering and scarifice of martyrs by recreating the horrors of the massacre. The Union Government failed to seize the moment and lost the occasion.
It is only unfortunate that neither the Union Government did anything for this place of great inspiration in five years nor gave us permission after our repeated requests to implement any of the projects planned by Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board. I had attended a meeting on your behalf with the Hon’ble Home Minister Shri. Rajnath Singh and presented the detailed project report of development projects planned by the Government of Punjab.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister is the Chairperson of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust, but the unknown reluctance of the Union Government did not allow us to do anything. The Prime Minister took seven months just to appoint trustees and has not bothered to visit the place even once during his tenure.
Now, As the Nation gathers to pay tribute to the Martyrs on the 100th year of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The Government of India is left wanting. Clearly playing a spoilsport, the Union Government has stalled all development project proposed by us.
I request you to give due recognition to this place of inspiration that ignited the freedom struggle, requesting you to kindly ask for the due apology and rename the crawling street leading to the Bagh.”