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Modi's tour de Punjab: PM pays homage to martyrs, visits Golden Temple

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 23, 2015 21:30 IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday paid tributes to freedom fighters and martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and visited the historic Golden Temple on a day-long visit to Punjab.

Soon after his arrival, Modi went straight to Hussainiwala in Ferozepur district by a helicopter where he paid tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at the National Martyrs Memorial on the anniversary of their martyrdom.

He later visited the Jallianwala Bagh memorial and paid floral tributes at the memorial, where British troops opened fire and killed hundreds of unarmed Indians in April 1919.

He stopped by the Martyr's Well which stands testimony to the brutal killing of people, many of whom had no way to save themselves but to jump in it.

The prime minister ended his day-long visit to Punjab by spending about 40 minutes at the Golden Temple. This was his first visit to the complex after becoming prime minister.

Modi undertook the ‘parikrama’ of the Harmandir Sahib and paid obeisance in the sanctum sanctorum, where he was offered a 'Siropa' (robe of honour) by the priest.

PM Modi owing and paying tribute to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at National Martyrs Memorial, at Hussainiwala, Punjab. Photograph: Press Information Bureau

“Our farmers should progress, our youth should have jobs... there should be a change in the lives of our poor people living in villages and cities. Until we bring such a change, our tribute to nation’s martyrs will remain incomplete,” Modi said during his address.

He was addressing a gathering after paying floral tributes to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at their memorial close to the India-Pakistan border.

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi and independence, the PM asserted that poor people would be provided houses while ensuring cleanliness in the country.

“We have proposed that nobody should be left without a house by 2022, after 75 years of our Independence. We want every poor one to have a house,” he said.

“In 2019, 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary will be celebrated. Is it not our responsibility to make India clean for those who sacrificed their lives?” he asked the gathering.

“Our motherland should be clean and every one should get a chance to progress... We are working to take India in this direction,” he said.

Modi at the Golden Temple in Punjab. Photograph: Press Information Bureau

Earlier, Modi paid rich tributes to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on their martyrdom day.

“On their martyrdom day, I pay my respects to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru who sacrificed their life for the nation,” he said in a statement.

Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were tried for killing British Superintendent of Police Saunders on December 17, 1928, and were awarded the death sentence. They were hanged in the Central Jail at Lahore on March 23, 1931.

Modi visited the inner sanctorum of the temple and even read the bowed before the holy Guru Granth Sahib. Photograph: Press Information Bureau

Modi undertook the ‘parikrama’ of the Harmandir Sahib and paid obeisance in the sanctum sanctorum, where he was offered a 'Siropa' (robe of honour) by the priest.

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, were among those who accompanied the prime minister.

Modi also mingled with the crowd of devotees inside the temple complex and interacted with the SGPC officials.

He wrote in the visitor book of the Golden Temple: "Guru Ashirwad bana rahey. Pavittar Pranam. Narendra Modi (May the Blessings of the Guru Always remain.)"

At the Jallianwala Bagh, Modi evinced keen interest at the Martyrs' Well, where many innocent persons jumped into it in a bid to save their lives.

Before leaving Jallianwala Bagh, he wrote in the visitors book, "Veer Matayein Avem Veer Putro Ki Shahadat Ko Parnam (Salute to sacrifice of brave mothers and brave children)".

Later, he went to Durgiana Temple, where he offered prayers and spent a few minutes. The evening 'Aarti' was in progress during the auspicious Navratris, when Modi reached there. He was also honoured by the Management Committee of the Sri Durgiana Mandir.

Modi was accorded a warm welcome at Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport on his arrival. He was received by Punjab Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal, Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur and Vijay Sampla, among others.

During his visit to the holy Sikh shrine, Modi was presented replica of Golden Temple, a woolen shawl and a set of Sikh religious books by SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar.

Makkar, head of SGPC, apex religious body of the Sikhs, also gave memorandum to Modi containing demands that included return of Sikh religious books, some other important documents which were allegedly taken during Operation Blue Star from the Sikh Reference Library in June 1984.

SGPC also demanded special corridor from Dera Baba Nanak Sector (India) to Kartarpur (Pakistan) where Gurdwara Kartrapur is located, and demanded to build flyover over the Ravi river, from India to Pakistan, to facilitate Sikh pilgrims to have direct access from India.

If flyover was build up, it would be 10 minutes distance from India to Pakistan for Sikh devotees to pay obeisance at Gurdwara where founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev left for heavenly abode and spent last days of his life, SGPC said, adding if bridge was build, devotees could return to India within half an hour after paying obeisance in the Sikh shrine in Pakistan.

SGPC also demanded the release of Sikh prisoners who have completed their jail terms, lodged in the different jails of the nation.

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