CHANDIGARH: The Congress and Akalis have indulged in no-holds-barred attacks on each other's families as Punjab gears up to commemorate the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Congress MLA Kuljit Nagra and Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia exchanged charges outside the House after speaker Rana KP Singh did not allow Majithia to ask a supplementary to his call attention motion against Sidhu on the Amritsar train tragedy. Stating that no permission was sought for the function, Majithia said the victim families are yet to get jobs.
Sidhu and Majithia later took potshots at each other in back-to-back press conferences. Sidhu produced accounts of historians claiming that Majithia's great grandfather, Sundar Singh Majithia, was feted General Dyer after the massacre and the British later bestowed the title of 'Sardar Bahadur' on him and gave him the Gorakhpur 'riyasat'. Sidhu said, “In his book, historian BN Dutta wrote that Sundar Singh praised General Dyer after the tragedy and called it a mischievous attempt to malign his (Dyer's) image. Writer Khushwant Singh too said in his book that when he went to Sundar Singh to get an autograph, he refused after seeing picture of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in it and flung the book in the air. Khushwant wrote that he was not able to forgive him for the boorish behaviour and did not respond to friendship gestures of his sons and grandsons.”
Nagra said since Punjab is observing 100 years of the tragedy and the House has passed a resolution seeking an apology from the UK government, it is only befitting that Majithia too tender an apology on behalf of his great grandfather. Randhawa said Simranjit Singh Mann of SAD (Amritsar) has tendered on apology on behalf of his grandfather, who too was a British loyalist and gave testimony against Bhagat Singh.