The whole country observes the Police Commemoration Day on October 21 every year in memory of 10 policemen killed in an ambush by the Chinese forces at Hot Springs in Ladakh, but it is an irony that neither the family of one of the martyrs Sarwan Dass nor his villagers were aware of his supreme sacrifice till recently.
A CRPF team visited Kittna village a few days ago in relation to some paper works, when reality dawned on the villagers. The proud villagers are now demanding a “befitting” tribute to the martyr and one villager, Parwinder Singh, even has sent a legal notice to the Punjab government.
Parwinder has demanded that the village middle school be upgraded and named after Sarwan Dass and the latter’s statue be erected there. In the notice sent through rights activist HC Arora, he has invoked Article 51-A of the Constitution of India which obligates the citizens to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country.
“The least we can do is to honour those who lay down their lives for the sake of country,” reads the notice.
Sarwan Dass was part of the 3rd battalion of CRPF and member of the patrolling party which was ambushed by the Chinese soldiers on 21 October 1959 at Hot Springs. Ten jawans, including Sarwan Dass, were killed and as many made captive by the intruders. The bodies of the martyrs were handed over to India on November 28, 1959 and all were cremated with full police honours at Hot Springs. Since then October 21 is observed as the National Police Commemoration Day.
Sarwan Dass’ nephew Amarjit Singh, who lives in the village with his family, revealed that they knew about the Police Commemoration Day but were unaware that the day also belonged to their uncle. “The CRPF team told us about the significance of the day,” he said.
A proud panchayat has passed a resolution to name the village school in martyr’s name. Parwinder said he would move the high court if the government failed to implement our demands. He has sent copies of the legal notice to the state chief secretary, education secretary, DPI (schools) and Hoshiarpur deputy commissioner.