Despite the fact that Punjabi NRIs in Britain and British parliamentarians have asked the UK government to find out the names of the martyrs of the Sepoy Mutiny, whose remains were dug up after 157 years from Kalianwala Khuh in Ajnala, the central and state governments are yet to give their nod for sending skeletons for DNA testing as demanded by the committee that had conducted the excavation.
Surinder Kochhar, a historian who led the excavation work, urged the committee constituted by the government in this regard to take the matter seriously, after submitting his report about the memorial that has been proposed at the site on Wednesday. Kochhar said he had furnished as much details about the well as possible in the 15-page report.
“From the history of the well and the slaughter of 1857, to setting up of a gurdwara on top of it, the reprehensible title ‘Kalianwala Khuh’ given to it by the British rulers, I have mentioned everything in the report,” he said.
Kochhar said the report was accompanied by five books pertaining to the history of Kalianwala Khuh, four district gazetteers, old manuscripts and pictures of the British Parliament dating back to 1859.
“I have handed over the report to Jaspal Singh, V-C, Punjabi University, who is the chairman of the committee. A copy of the report has also been sent to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal through Navjot Singh Randhawa, director of cultural, archaeology and museums department,” he said, adding in view the importance of the issue, the government should direct the panel concerned to send its report within 10 days.
Surname inscribed on army medal deciphered
Of the three army medals recovered during the excavation at Kalianwala Khuh, two are ‘Gandhar-Ghazni-Kabul 1842’ medals, while one is a ‘Satluj’ medal.
“The ‘Satluj’ medal has a name inscribed on it. Though the first name is not legible as it has been erased because of years of abrasion, the other name — presumably a Rajput surname — reads ‘Singh 26’,” claimed historian Surinder Kochhar.