The residents of this border village and those of vicinity once again got together to remember and pay tributes to their very own brave warrior, Sham Singh Attariwala, on his 167th martyrdom day here on Sunday.
Presiding over the function, information and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia said that commemoration of such events of great warriors and freedom fighters helped to remind the youth of the glorious history of India and of the Sikh community. The valour and gallantry shown by Attariwala in the battle against the British had few parallels, he added.
The minister said that Sikh history was enshrined with the glorious sagas of warriors and freedom fighters who made unique sacrifices to strengthen mutual love, brotherhood and communal harmony. He called upon the youth to emulate the bravery of their forefathers and wage a war against social evils.
"It is time to fight the internal war against drugs and other social evils, besides protecting our borders so as to bring back the glory of our state and the country," he added.
Majithia said that the Punjab government was committed to preserve the historical places associated with sacrifices of great men. He said be it Chappar Chiri, Chotha Ghallughara or Wada Ghallughara or even Baba Bandha Singh Bhadaur's sacrifice for the cause of Sikhism, the government was trying to construct befitting monuments. On the same lines, Sham Singh Attariwala's memorial in this border village would be spruced up, he added.
He said that Rs. 82 lakh would be spent on the beautification of the memorial and assured that adequate funds would be provided to pursue the restoration and conservation works of this historic place, if need be. He also announced Rs. 2 lakh for the Sham Singh Attari Museum, close to the memorial and another Rs. 2 lakh for holding sports events at the same venue.
Others present on the occasion included Khadoor Sahib MP Rattan Singh Ajnala, former Rajya Sabha member Raj Mohinder Singh Majithia and deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal. Also present were chairman of Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala Trust Col Kuldip Singh (retd) and general secretary of the trust Col Harinder Singh Attari (retd).
Earlier, members of the Sham Singh Attariwala Trust, along with the members of Attari family, laid wreaths at the statue of Sham Singh Attariwala at India Gate in Nariangarh Chowk on the Amritsar-Attari highway. On this occasion a contingent of Punjab Police also paid tributes to the great warrior.
Descendants of Attariwala unhappy
Though the family members of the great warrior, Sham Singh Attariwala, went out of the way to thank the state government for commemorating the martyrdom day at a state-level function, but they still seemed to be unhappy as a lot of their demands and even the commitments made by the government had not yet been fulfilled. The Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala Trust comprises of descendants of Attariwala, who converge every year in the village to revive memories of the brave martyr, who was the first Sikh to take on the British after the fall of the mighty empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Among their demands is to rename the stretch of NH-I between Amritsar and Attari (Wagah) after Attariwala. This had been announced by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal a couple of years back, but has not been implemented.
The state government had also announced renaming of the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari-Wagah after the martyr. But this too has not been done till date. Neither has the demand of the Trust to rename the railway station at Attari after Attariwala been accepted despite assurances being given by the state government to take up the matter with the railway ministry.
The other demands of the Trust included, construction of a multi-purpose hall at the Sham Singh Attariwala Memorial in Attari and holding of light and sound programmes here. The Trust has also called upon the state government to develop Attari so as to attract tourists who come down to watch the Retreat ceremony at the joint Indo-Pakistan check post.