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Parliament passes Jallianwala Bagh memorial Trust Bill

Date: 20 November 2019 Tags: Historical Places

Issue

Parliament has passed the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Rajya Sabha approved the bill on 19th November while Lok Sabha had passed it in the last session.

 

Background

 The Act provides for the erection of a National Memorial in memory of those killed or wounded on April 13, 1919, in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar.  In addition, it creates a Trust to manage the National Memorial.

 

Details

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951. It has a provision to remove the President of the Congress party as a trustee and clarifies that when there is no Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the leader of the single largest Opposition party will be the trustee.

  • Under the 1951 Act, the Trustees of the Memorial include:

(i) the Prime Minister as Chairperson, (ii) President of the Indian National Congress, (iii) Minister in-charge of Culture, (iv) Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, (v) Governor of Punjab, (vi) Chief Minister of Punjab, and (vii) three eminent persons nominated by the central government. 

  • The Bill amends this provision to remove the President of the Indian National Congress as a Trustee.  Further, it clarifies that when there is no Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, then the leader of the single largest opposition party will be the Trustee.

  • The Bill also allows the Central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before the expiry of the period of his term, without assigning any reason.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

  • The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13 April 1919 when Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered troops of the British Indian Army to fire their rifles into a crowd of unarmed civilians in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab.

  • The government had sent a notification to ban all meetings under the Rowlatt Act during Baisakhi but it was not widely circulated.

  • Many villagers had gathered in the Bagh to celebrate the important Sikh festival of Baisakhi, and peacefully protest the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satyapal and Saifuddin Kitchlew

  • Dyer was initially lauded for his actions in Britain and became a hero among many who were directly benefiting from the British Raj, such as members of the House of Lords.

  • He was, however, widely criticised in the House of Commons, whose July 1920 committee of investigation censured him.

  • This incident shocked Rabindranath Tagore  to such extent that he renounced his knighthood.

The Rowlatt Act or The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919

  • This act effectively authorized the government to imprison any person suspected of terrorism living in British India for up to two years without a trial, and gave the imperial authorities power to deal with all revolutionary activities.It was named after its president, British judge Sir Sidney Rowlatt.

  • The Government of India repealed the Rowlatt Act, the Press Act, and twenty-two other laws in March 1922.

Rowlatt Satyagraha

M. K Gandhi started campaign against Rowlatt bill and set up Satyagraha Sabha 24th February AD 1919 at Bombay. It was also called the ‘Himalayan Blunder’ for its failure to curb violence.

 

The Hunter Commission

  • The government of India formed a committee of inquiry to investigate the Jallianwala Bagh shootings. On October 14, 1919, the Government of India announced the formation of the Disorders Inquiry Committee.

  • The committee was commonly known as Hunter Commission after the name of chairman, Lord William Hunter. It also had no Indian members.

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