While the mud stained with the blood of 282 martyrs of the First War of Independence (1857) was immersed in Ravi river on April 13, the delay on the part of the central government to procure the list of the martyrs’ names from the British government has led to the defer ment of the preservation or committal of their skeletal remains which were exhumed from Kalianwala Khuh (rechristened as Shaheedan Wala Khuh) in Ajnala in February this year.
Meanwhile, a four-member team of archaeological experts comprising SK Sinha, Ajaib Singh, Kapil Kaushik and Jitendra Singh, reached Kalianwala Khuh on Tuesday to document the unearthed items, including jewellery, coins and medals recovered from the site.
The Gurudwara Shaheed Gunj Managing Committee and historian Surinder Kochhar have urged the Centre to expedite the process of obtaining the list of martyrs’ names from the British government.
“The central gover nment should speed up the process to so that after their identification, a decision could be reached regarding the preservation and interment of these remains as required,” said Surinder Kochhar, who led the work of excavation at Kalianwala Khuh.
Kochhar also urged the government toe nsure that the work on the construction of the memorial proposed at the site and the DNA testing of the remains of the martyrs is conducted soon.
The visiting experts said the site plan would be sent to the government. They have recommended shipping the artefacts out of Ajnala for conservation, which Kochhar has resisted. “If these artefacts are moved to Delhi or Chandigarh, these will never find their way back to Ajnala, where these belong,” he added.
He informed the team that on being approached for help for the work of excavation, none of the gover nment of ficials had extended any help in this regard. “The support came only from Gurudwara Shaheed Gunj Managing Committee and the local residents,,” Kochhar said.
The remains exhumed from the Kalianwala Khuh are of the soldiers killed by the British after the former revolted at Mian Mir cantonment in Lahore during the 1857 uprising.