India will observe August 14 as “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day” to acknowledge the suffering of citizens during a traumatic period in history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday.
In 1947, British-ruled India was divided into two independent countries – India and Pakistan. With this, lakhs of people were forced to leave their homes. Large-scale communal violence broke out, women were abducted and sexually assaulted. At least 10 lakh people are believed to have died during that period.
Ahead of India’s 75th Independence Day on Sunday, Modi said that the pain of Partition can never be forgotten. “Millions of our sisters and brothers were displaced and many lost their lives due to mindless hate and violence,” he said. “In memory of the struggles and sacrifices of our people, 14th August will be observed as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day.”
The prime minister added that “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day” should keep reminding citizens about the need to “remove the poison of social divisions and disharmony” and promote social harmony. Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have themselves been accused of diving India along religious lines.
BJP leaders praised Modi’s announcement.
“As a child of parents who suffered during India’s Partition, I am extremely grateful to PM Narendra Modi ji for declaring August 14 as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day,” Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted. “This will forever be a reminder of the human misery caused by wrong policies of the then government.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said: “In memory of the sacrifice, struggle and sacrifice of our innumerable sisters and brothers who were displaced in the shadow of violence and hatred at the time of Partition of the country, Modi ji has decided to celebrate 14th August as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day. I congratulate him on this decision.