When Barnala was taken for a terrorist
COPS AT the Qaiserbagh police station still do not know who was that Sikh man whom they held one dark night in 1994 from one of the bylanes of the state capital. When they held him, they thought that he was a terrorist. They interrogated him but later set him free as they were convinced that the old man was not a terrorist.Updated: Feb 14, 2006 01:30 IST
COPS AT the Qaiserbagh police station still do not know who was that Sikh man whom they held one dark night in 1994 from one of the bylanes of the state capital. When they held him, they thought that he was a terrorist. They interrogated him but later set him free as they were convinced that the old man was not a terrorist.
After 12 long years, Governor of Tamil Nadu Surjit Singh Barnala disclosed that the old Sardarji was none other than himself. He said that the police could not identify him as he had altered his appearance. He did it to visit the place of his childhood and youth without being identified.
The Governor has mentioned this incident in his book ‘Quest for Freedom: Story of an Escape’.
The Governor narrated this incident during a visit to Lucknow Christian College, his alma mater, from where he did his intermediate during 1940-42. According to him, in 1994 he undertook a mission to visit all those places where he spent his childhood. It was in this chain that he visited Lucknow where the police held him captive for a few hours.
Recalling the good old days of the past, Barnala said that in the 1940s, LCC was one of the best colleges in the city. “I lived in Charbagh and walked all the way to college. In the process I developed as a good athlete and took part in brisk walking competitions and even participated in national level events,” he said.
The Governor recalled that after completing intermediate from LCC, he took admission in Lucknow University for graduation in 1942. In those days, the city was a known centre of the freedom struggle. “Barring Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, all top political leaders visited the campus and inspired the students to participate in the Quit India Movement.”
“The students were so inspired that once they planned to take out a procession to hand over a memorandum to the Governor. But no sooner than the procession reached the monkey bridge, the police canecharged the students and even opened fire to disperse them. Those who were injured were ferried to the other side of the river. But here too the police intercepted them,” he recalled.
Despite this, the students were determined to register their protest against police atrocities. Once, about 600 of them converged at Hazratganj crossing and headed towards the Raj Bhawan. Here too the police intercepted them and beat them, he recalled.
The Governor stated that he stayed in the city for about six years and the stay was quite eventful for him.
During his visit to LCC, the Governor urged the students to concentrate on their studies if they wanted to make it big in life. “If one is determined to rise, there is no stopping him,” he said.
Those who were present on the occasion included principal BP Masih, manager of the college Bishop SR Thomas, LU executive council member Naresh Chandra and LUACTA president Moulendu.
First Published: Feb 14, 2006 01:30 IST