Tribune News Service
Amritsar, March 13
Exactly 78 years after Shaheed Udham Singh gunned down Michael O’Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab when the Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh unveiled the martyr’s statue at the entrance to the memorial here today.
Condemning the vandalisation of statues of dignitaries across the country, Rajnath said state governments had been directed to initiate stern action against the culprits.
“Ideological differences don’t permit anyone to show intolerance by way of damaging statues of those who contributed to nation-building. It was never a part of Indian culture and tradition. It would not be tolerated,” he said.
He stated that the statue was an initiative of the International Sarav Kamboj Samaj to pay homage to Shaheed Udham Singh, who belonged to the Kamboj community.
Highlighting the Centre Government’s plans to improve infrastructure at Jallianwala Bagh, he said the centenary of the massacre would be observed by the entire nation for at least a year.
Cabinet minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot read out Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s congratulatory message on the installation of the statue. Endorsing the demand of Haryana minister Karan Dev Kamboj, he said efforts would be made to set up a Chair named after Shaheed Udham Singh at Guru Nanak Dev University.
Others present included Union Minister of State Vijay Sampla, legislator Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Rajya Sabha MP Shwait Malik and local MP Gurjeet Aujla.
Rs 50,000 GST levied
- International Sarav Kamboj Samaj president Shinder Pal Singh said the fibre-glass statue, made by a Mohali-based firm, had cost Rs 3.5 lakh, including Rs 50,000 as GST.
- He said the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Trust had promised to take charge of its maintenance.
- In Jalandhar, Congress leader Himanshu Pathak questioned Centre’s “double standards” on exempting items under the GST regime.
- “The Centre has exempted prasadam at Tirupati temple from tax on a request by the Andhra Pradesh Government. But why has langar served at the Golden Temple not been exempted from GST?” he asked while addressing the media.
SGPC hands over memo to home minister
Home Minister Rajnath Singh paid obeisance at the Golden Temple on Tuesday. SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal honoured him with siropa, a shawl and a golden model of the shrine. Longowal handed over a memorandum to Rajnath, demanding GST waiver on langar purchases, early release of Sikh political prisoners, the return of manuscripts and holy books of the Sikh Reference Library that were taken into possession by the Army during Operation Bluestar and minority status and job reservation for Jammu and Kashmir Sikhs. The SGPC also demanded that steps be initiated to open the corridor between Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib (Pakistan) ahead of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary in 2019. Rajnath promised to look into the issues.