By Arjun Sidharth
New Delhi, May 11 (www.altnews.in): In a no holds barred attack on the Congress party, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that no Congress leader had visited Bhagat Singh, B K Dutt and Vinayak D Savarkar when they were under imprisonment during British rule. Congress leaders instead choose to visit those who have been jailed for corruption.
“When Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Batukeshwar Dutt, Veer Savarkar, greats like them were jailed fighting for the country’s independence, did any Congress leader went to meet them? But the Congress leaders go and meet the corrupt who have been jailed,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election rally in Bidar, Karnataka on May 9.
Karnataka votes on May 12 and the run up to the election has witnessed fierce campaigning. PM Modi had earlier been caught on the wrong foot when in a poll rally, he made the false claim that General Thimayya had been insulted by former PM Jawaharlal Nehru in 1948. The Prime Minister has now once again made a reference to history in his speech at Bidar.
Alt News fact checked PM Modi’s claim.
India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his autobiography ”Toward Freedom: The Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru recalls his meeting with Bhagat Singh when the latter was imprisoned in Lahore jail in 1929.
It may be recalled that Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt were arrested after they exploded bombs inside the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi in April, 1929.
Nehru writes: “I happened to be in Lahore when the hunger strike was already a month old. I was given permission to visit some of the prisoners in the prison, and I availed myself of this. I saw Bhagat Singh for the first time, and Jatindranath Das and a few others. They were all very weak and bedridden, and it was hardly possible to talk to them much. Bhagat Singh had an attractive, intellectual face, remarkably calm and peaceful. There seemed to be no anger in it. He looked and talked with great gentleness, but then I suppose that anyone who has been fasting for a month will look spiritual and gentle. Jatin Das looked milder still, soft and gentle like a young girl. He was in considerable pain when I saw him. He died later, as a result of fasting, on the sixty-first day of the hunger strike.”
In fact, this event of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visiting Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt who were lodged in Lahore jail was reported by The Tribune in its editions of August 9 and August 10, 1929.
It may be noted that in 1929, The Tribune was based in Lahore. The reports that appeared in The Tribune regarding the said event are reproduced below from The Tribune archives.
The report of August 9, 1929 states, “Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, accompanied by Dr. Gopi Chand, M.L.C, visited the Lahore Central and Borstal Jails today and interviewed the hunger strikers in the Lahore conspiracy case. Pandit Jawahar Lal first went to the Central jail where he met Sardar Bhagat Singh and Mr. B K Dutt with whom he held conversations about the hunger strike. After meeting these two prisoners he went to the Borstal jail where he met the other hunger strikers including Jatin Das, Ajoy Ghosh and Shiv Varma who were lying in hospital.”