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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

‘Hurdles’ in way of cremating remains

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 28, 2014
First Published: 08:07 IST(28/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:10 IST(28/7/2014)

Despite being exhumed in February this year from a well in Ajnala, where they were dumped unceremoniously 157 years ago after being gunned down by the British during the Mutiny of 1857, a decent send off still seems to be a far cry for the skeletal remains of 282 martyrs of the Sepoy Mutiny, as the Defence Estate officials are allegedly creating hurdles in the way of their last rites scheduled for August 1.

The last rites have been scheduled for August 1 as 157 years ago these soldiers, who were a part of the Mutiny, were massacred by the soldiers of the British East India Company on August 1, 1857.

The organisers of the event have sent out invitation cards to the who’s who across the country, but the land for conducting the last rites is still nowhere in sight.

“The Defence Estate officer (Jalandhar circle) had assured to provide land for the cremation to be held on August 1 in the camping ground at Ajnala in a meeting held with officials of various government departments,” said Surinder Kochhar, who is associated with the work of excavation at the site of Kalianwala Khuh .

Kochhar said he had even apprised the principal director, Defence Services Estate, in writing about the promise of the Defence Estate officer (Jalandhar circle) to provide the requisite land for the cremation.

“However, till date the land has not been arranged. At all costs, the last rites of the martyrs shall be conducted in Ajnala on August 1,” Kochhar said.

He added that in case of the failure of the government to arrange the land, alternative arrangements would be made for the cremation.

Meanwhile, Amarjit Singh Sarkaria, president, Gurdwara Shaheed Gunj Managing Committee, said the matter would be brought to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We shall seek action against the officials creating hurdles in performing the last rites of the martyrs’ remains,” he said.

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