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Semi-naked women picture removed from Jallianwala Bagh gallery


Chandigarh : Following intense criticism and protests, authorities have removed a picture of two semi-naked women akin to Ajanta and Ellora caves at an upcoming photo gallery of the Jallianwala Bagh that witnessed one of the bloodiest massacre of the pre-Independence era in Punjab's Amritsar city.

The objectionable photo was amid portraits of national heroes and first Sikh master, Guru Nanak Dev. Sub-divisional Magistrate Vikas Hira said the photo has been removed.

It is learnt that Hira inspected the ongoing construction work after the controversy arose and took a serious note with the company, which is undertaking the Jallianwala Bagh's Central government-funded renovation works, about displaying the photo in the national memorial to the Indian freedom struggle.

"Accepting its mistake, the company decided to remove the photo," a government functionary told IANS on Tuesday.

IANS had highlighted the issue of the objectionable picture in a story titled "Picture of semi-naked women in Jallianwala Bagh gallery riles many" on July 19.

The Jallianwala Bagh complex is currently undergoing a massive makeover. Authorities say the renovation and restoration began on February 15 under the supervision of Archaeological Survey of India and will reopen to the public from July 31.

The Centre has allocated Rs 20 crore in the first phase through the Ministry of Culture.

The renovation work is supervised by BJP Rajya Sabha member Shwait Malik, who is also a trustee of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust. He last visited the gallery on July 17.

Local Member of Parliament Gurjit Singh Aujla and the International Sarv Kamboj Samaj had lodged a strong protest with Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- who is the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust President -- and demanded the removal of the offensive picture.

"The Jallianwala Bagh is no less than a pilgrimage centre for every Indian. Hundreds of people, comprising schoolchildren and families, visit it every day to pay respect to those who sacrificed their lives for the country," International Sarv Kamboj Samaj President Bobby Kamboj had told IANS.

He had said it was a "shame for us when we came to know on Saturday that authorities had put on display the picture of semi-nude women in the gallery, which houses a collection of portraits and paintings of national heroes and Sikh gurusa.

Located in the vicinity of the Golden Temple complex, the Jallianwala Bagh witnessed one of the bloodiest massacre of the pre Independence era when at least 379 civilians were gunned down on April 13, 1919, by British India Army on the orders of Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer.

Over 1,000 others were injured. The incident catalysed the Indians' struggle for freedom.

Under renovation is an old well -- the martyrs' well -- within the park, which is a silent witness to the brutal killings. It is going to be put under a dome-shaped see-through fibre-glass canopy.



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