Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday targeted previous governments, saying they drafted the Union Budget with an eye on their vote bank and made budgets a medium of announcements they could not fulfil but now the country has changed its approach. "From decades, the meaning of budget in our country was only restricted to what announcements have been made on whose name. Budget was turned into an account for the vote bank," he said after inaugurating via video conference the centenary celebrations of the historic Chauri Chaura incident, a landmark event in the country's fight for Independence.
"You all make an account of household expenditure by keeping in mind present needs and future responsibilities. But earlier governments made budgets a medium of such announcements that they could not fulfil. Now the country has changed such 'soch' (thought) and approach," the prime minister said.
Modi also released a postage stamp to mark the beginning of the centenary celebrations.A group of freedom fighters participating in the non-cooperation movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1922 were fired upon by police, leading to death of many of them. In retaliation, protestors attacked and set fire to the Chauri Chaura police station, killing many of its occupants.
Gandhi had called off the movement due to the violence. The killing of the Chauri Chaura policemen had resulted in arrest of hundreds of protesters with 228 of them being put on trial, six of them dying during it and 172 ordered to be hanged to death with the remaining sentenced to long-term imprisonments after a hasty eight-month trial.
Reviewing the death sentences, the Allahabad High Court finally in April 1923 confirmed it for 19 convicts and sentenced 110 of them to life imprisonments in Port Blair and long jail terms to others. At Thursday's event, 99 people, descendants of those involved in the incident will be honoured.
Those chosen to be honoured on the occasion include 72-year-old Kamla Prasad of Dumri Khurd, a grandson of Chinugi who was sent to the Cellular Jail in Port Blair. "I am happy that we are getting the honour and the country will know us from tomorrow," said an elated Kamla Prasad.
The year-long commemoration of the Chauri Chaura incident's centenary began in all 75 districts of the state with 'Prabhat Pheris' (early morning rounds) and other programmes that will continue till February 4, 2022. Besides the beautification of the Chauri Chaura Shaheed Sthal in Gorakhpur, the area is also being developed as a tourist spot on the lines of India Gate, Jallianwala Bagh and Cellular Jail, a senior official said.