Around 157 years after being gunned down and dumped unceremoniously in a well by the British in Ajnala, the remains of the martyrs of the 1857 uprising are all set for a decent send-off on August 1.
The remains of the martyrs were unearthed from the Kalianwala Khuh in Ajnala on February 28 this year.
Surinder Kochhar, the historian who conducted research on this matter, and the advisory committee constituted to look after the exhumed remains of the martyrs, have urged the government to procure the list of their names from the British government ahead of their last rites.
Even as various eminent people, politicians and religious leaders are likely to attend the ceremony for which invitations are being sent out, the place to conduct the last rites is still not decided.
“The government has been asked to provide space to grant a decent burial to the remains of the martyrs, who were unceremoniously dumped by the British in this well after being gunned down,” said Kochhar.
He further said that a memorandum has been sent to the government to procure the list of the names of these martyrs within two weeks. “The last rites are being conducted of the remains that have been declared useless by the forensic and DNA experts,” said Kochhar.
He added that the forensic and DNA experts had deemed these remains unfit even to be displayed in the museum proposed to be constructed at the site.
Kochhar has urged the government to direct the experts involved in the testing of the remains of the martyrs to submit their report at the earliest so as to ensure time-bound completion of the research.
He maintained that considering his request, NS Randhawa, director, cultural, archaeological and museum department, has directed the experts concerned to present a report of their findings. “He has also assured that in the coming days, the work on the construction of the memorial would be initiated on a war-footing,” Kochhar said.
The Gurudwara Shaheed Gunj Committee, which had spearheaded the excavation work at Kalianwala Khuh from where the skeletal remains of 282 martyrs were recovered, had initiated the process of last rites for them on April 13 by immersing the mud stained with their blood in Ravi river.
Around four trolleys of mud stained with the martyrs’ blood were immersed in the river.