The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday has passed the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill which seeks to remove the Congress president as a permanent member of a trust that runs the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial. The Bill states that it seeks to "delete" the mention of 'President of the Indian National Congress' as a trustee.
Slamming the Congress party for their opposition to the bill, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel said: "Opposition has a problem to remove Congress President as a permanent member of a trust that runs the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial. I want to ask how many cheques Congress has given for Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial? How many Congress leaders visited the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial."
The Lok Sabha on July 8 this year passed the bill even as Congress staged a walkout. A voice vote passed the bill. Earlier, amendments moved by opposition parties were defeated by a division of votes. A division sought by opposition members at the time of consideration of the bill was also defeated 214 in favour of the consideration and 30 against it.
Piloting the bill during its passage in Lok Sabha, Culture Minister Prahlad Patel asserted that national memorials cannot be "political memorials" and they should be kept away from politics. 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, the trust which manages the memorial has the Prime Minister as the chairperson, president of Indian National Congress, Culture Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Punjab governor, Punjab CM as its members.
Replying to the debate on the bill, Patel had said the government wants to end politics associated with the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust. "It is our belief and principle that politics should be removed from the national memorial and hence the amendments were brought to the 1951 Act," he had said.