On the 87th martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev — observed on March 23 — youth of the region will take out a protest march to raise their voice over the lack of efforts in preserving Bhagat Singh’s hide-out place in the local Turi Bazar.
A year ago, the department of tourism and cultural affairs had, under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1964, issued a notification, declarating the place to be a national monument. Also, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was supposed to take over the building.
But despite the notification, neither have steps been taken to preserve the structure nor has the ASI taken over. At present, three shops are being run on the ground floor of the building and a family is residing on rent on the first floor.
Youth under the banner of Punjab Students Union are planning to throw light on the issue again.
Last year, the-then Ferozepur deputy commissioner DPS Kharbanda had issued notices to tenants of the building, which was used as a hideout by Bhagat Singh and his associates.
“The Punjab government issued a notification to declare the hideout a national monument and now even putting a nail on its wall is punitive as per law,” an official, pleading anonymity, said.
“Authorities should gear up and not only protect the building in letter and spirit, but should also set up a library in memory of the martyrs before March 23 (martyrdom day) as a real tribute,” demanded Rakesh Kumar, author of various books on the life and times of Bhagat Singh and others.
A Chandigarh-based lawyer, HC Arora, had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court seeking direction to the government to declare the building a protected monument. The high court had ruled in favour of the petitioner and directed the state government to take necessary steps. However, even after more than two years of the court direction, the government did nothing on the ground.
The high court, later, issued a notice to the state government on a contempt petition filed by advocate Arora, alleging non-compliance of orders. The hearing of the contempt plea was fixed for February 26, 2016 but the government issued a notification in this regard on January 7,2016.
Deputy commissioner BS Dhaliwal expressed ignorance over the status of the case but assured to look into it.