The failure of the government to provide land for the cremation of the remains of 282 martyrs of the 1857 uprising, whose skeletal remains were excavated from a well in Ajnala where the British dumped them after gunning them down, might force the panel constituted by the government and Gurdwara Shaheed Gunj Managing Committee to conduct their "last rites" in the village cremation ground. The proposed send-off of the martyrs' remains is scheduled for August 1. Surinder Kochhar, who did the pioneering work in the unravelling on the Kalianwalan Khuh , on Friday said, "We intended to conduct their 'last rites' at the national level.
However, if the government is unable to provide the requisite land by the scheduled time, we might have to conduct the rites in the village cremation ground".
However, tourism secretary Raji P Srivastava, with whom a meeting was held in this regard on Friday, said that talks would be held with the defence department to arrange land for the "creamation" of the martyrs' remains.
The remains of the martyrs were dug up from the Kalianwala Khuh in Ajnala on February 28 this year.
Kochhar, who conducted research on the well, and the advisory committee constituted to look after the exhumed remains of the martyrs and the erection of a memorial at the well, have urged the government to procure the list of the martyrs' names ahead of their funeral, besides making arrangements for the upkeep of the historic well which has begun to crumble.