CHANDIGARH: As the country marked the 108th birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on Monday, his nephew urged the Centre to name the new civil air terminal in Chandigarh after the freedom fighter “without further delay”.
Bhagat Singh’s Abhay Singh Sandhu, 57, said, “The decision to name the airport after Bhagat Singh was taken by the Punjab government in 2007 during his birth centenary celebrations. Later, the state Assembly unanimously passed a resolution in this regard.”
The Punjab government has been demanding that the airport be named Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali.
However, the Haryana government had insisted that the airport retain Chandigarh in the name instead of Mohali. It had no objection to the airport being named after Bhagat Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 11 inaugurated the new civil air terminal building at Chandigarh airport, which will handle both domestic and international flights.
“But when it was inaugurated, the Shaheed’s name was ignored. This is an insult to martyrs. When the (Punjab) government itself had proposed to name the airport after the martyr, then it should have been done. Neighbouring Haryana also did not raise any objection. Former civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had also given his nod, then where does the problem lie?” Sandhu asked.
“I want to clarify that there was no demand from the family initially. The proposal came from the government’s side. However, people now feel the delay is an insult to the martyr who made the supreme sacrifice. The Centre should issue a notification and name the airport after him,” he said.
He said organisations connected with Bhagat Singh would hold a demonstration in Chandigarh on October 11 to protest the “insult heaped on the freedom fighter”.
Sandhu reiterated that files pertaining to Bhagat Singh and Sardar Ajit Singh, another freedom fighter, be declassified. He claimed that the martyr’s family had been under “surveillance” for years and demanded that the government must declassify all files pertaining to them.
Sandhu said the family had been on the radar since the British rule and claimed that “even after the country gained freedom, we were under the watch of intelligence agencies”.
“We want to know everything …why should the government hide (records). We are hoping that the present government will take a step in this regard soon,” Sandhu said.
Sandhu, the son of Bhagat Singh’s younger brother Kulbir Singh, was born in 1914 and was the Jan Sangh MLA from Ferozepur.
“My father tried to obtain files or records pertaining to the two which have been kept in the National Archives in Delhi,” he said, adding that over the years, they had been told that the files were “secret” and not transferable for 20-30 years.
“My father passed away in 1983, after which when we tried to raise the demand for the access of the document, we were given the same answer,” he alleged.
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NEW DELHI: The nation paid homage to freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his 108th birth anniversary today. A number of functions were organised across the country to mark the occasion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also remembered the freedom fighter on his birth anniversary during his address to the Indian diaspora at San Jose in California. “Today is September 28 in India and it is the birth anniversary of brave son of India, Bhagat Singh. I salute India’s beloved martyred son,” said Modi as he started his address at SAP Center in California.