The Punjab government has started the process to grant heritage status to a building at Toori Bazar here which martyrs Bhagat Singh and his associates had used as a hideout to undertake their activities against the British rulers.
The government has sought objections from the people regarding the proposed heritage status to the building within two months through a publication in a section of the media.
In the publication, Anjali Bhawra, senior secretary of tourism and cultural affairs, has demanded objections from the people under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1964.
A demand from local residents had started gathering momentum to declare the building as a heritage and preserve it as a monument. The double-storeyed building is about to collapse any moment.
"It's a welcome move that concrete measures had now been initiated by the state government to recognise the sacrifices of great martyrs including Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev besides others, who visited this building as part of their struggle for freedom of the country," remarked Rakesh Kumar, a historian, who has even released a booklet to highlight the importance of the building to demand its declaration as a heritage building.
"A peep into the history reveals that the building was used by the martyrs from August 10, 1928 to February 4, 1929 and when later British officials came to know about it, 21 witnesses were presented in a court to prove it as a 'shelter house' by freedom activists and out of the 21 witnesses, 19 belonged to Ferozepur only," disclosed Rakesh.
"Not only martyrs Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev but Chander Shekhar Azad, Shiv Verma, Vijay Kumar Sinha and Mahavir Singh also used to visit the above building while Shiv Kumar Verma even wrote life histories of several political martyrs for famous 'Chand Magzine' from here only," added Rakesh.
The ground floor of the complex was used by Dr Gaya Parshad, an associate of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh as 'Nigam Pharmacy' while the upper floor was used by the martyrs to prepare bombs and chalk out strategies to battle out the British.
'Hair of martyr Bhagat Singh were cut here by Dr Gaya Prashad, Sukhdev and Gopal, after a decision was taken by the party to hide his identity, revealed the statement by Jai Gopal in the court during the trial at the Lahore Special Tribunal at Lahore.
At present, The dilapidated building is in the possession of a trust and a family is staying in the upper floor while two shops on the ground floor are used by a trader and the third shop by a financier.
Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana high court has also accepted the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by HC Arora, seeking preservation of the first headquarters of the Krantikari Party, led by martyr Bhagat Singh at Ferozepur, and even issued notices to the Punjab government and the ASI. The matter would be heard on January 15 by a double bench of the high court.
Meanwhile, DPS Kharbanda, deputy commissioner, has already sent a detailed report over the above to declare it as a 'national monument'.
"Those who are utilising the building presently would also be suitably rehabilitated," assured the DC.