Close on the heels of the declassification of secret documents related to Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose by the West Bengal government, the family of Shaheed Bhagat Singh has demanded that the classified records pertaining to the martyr be made public.
In Karnal on Sunday to preside over a function to mark 108th birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh, Abhey Singh Sandhu, 57-year-old nephew of the iconic freedom fighter from Punjab, criticised the successive governments for ignoring the martyr’s contributions in the freedom struggle.
In an interview to Hindustan Times, Sandhu said that he wanted to know everything which the then British government wrote about Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary uncle Ajit Singh.
“All records should be declassified. I fail to understand why the successive governments have been hiding the records. Release of official papers will throw light on several hidden secrets about contributions of the two leaders in the freedom struggle,” he said.
“Our family has been giving representations seeking declassification of documents to the government for the past several decades but there is no move in this direction so far. Official papers submitted by the then intelligence sleuths about Ajit Singh will be of utmost importance. The British government had forced the revolutionary freedom fighter Ajit Singh to leave India for 39 years but he was in constant touch with Bhagat Singh and others for the freedom struggle,” said Sandhu.
A resident of SAS Nagar, Sandhu claimed that several Congress leaders wanted Ajit Singh of Ghadar Party to be India’s president after Independence.
“Leaders had even made a crown for the purpose and the central government is still holding back such documents in the name of secrecy. In the larger public interest, we urge the Modi government to release all documents pertaining to Bhagat Singh,” he said.
Sandhu is the son of Bhagat Singh’s younger brother Kulbir Singh, who was born in 1914 and was a Jan Sangh MLA from Ferozepur.
Sandhu claimed that Bhagat Singh was subjected to snooping by the intelligence officials during pre-Independence days and his family still suspected of being spied upon.
“Our family was being spied after 1947 and we have a strong apprehension that we are still being snooped. Even today our telephones and movements are being eyed by intelligence authorities for unsaid reasons,” he alleged.
‘Bhagat Singh was not a practicing Sikh’
Sandhu said that Bhagat Singh was deeply influenced by Arya Samaj and not Sikhism.His grandfather Arjun Singh was a staunch follower of Arya Samaj and Bhagat Singh followed that sect.
“In those times it was extremely rare for a Sikh to shun his faith and follow Arya Samaj. Our ancestors did that to fight against social inequalities and Bhagat Singh had great influence of Arya Samaj on his life,” he said.
‘Martyr ignored to benefit certain families’
Sandhu decried the role of politicians and a section of historians to paint Bhagat Singh wrongly as a gun-loving revolutionary.
“Bhagat Singh picked up the gun only once. It was not a bomb but a cracker that he and his group members threw in the Central Legislative Assembly in Lahore. Bhagat Singh was a visionary and wanted the British establishment to realise his viewpoint. He clicked his famous photograph wearing hat a few days before the assembly attack and dispatched to England to let the world know the face of Indian revolutionary,” said Sandhu.
“Bhagat Singh was portrayed in a wrong way under a planned political conspiracy to benefit certain political individuals and their families,” he added.
Status of martyr
Sandhu said that a great personality like Bhagat Singh did not require any special recognition, but the government should respect public sentiments in according the official status of a martyr to him.
“He is already recognized as Shaheed-e-Azam by the entire nation. The respective governments chose to ignore his ideology for their own political reasons. He should have been officially designated as martyr much earlier,” he said.