Admn sends Badal proposal for 1857 martyrs' memorial
A day after work on exhuming the skeletal remains of over 250 Indian soldiers dumped in a well at Ajnala in 1857 concluded, the district administration and the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee joined hands with the Gurdwara Shaheed Gunj Managing Committee to build a memorial-cum-museum for the martyrs.
Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat visited Ajnala on Monday. He said he supervised the place on the banks of the Ravi near the Pakistan border where the Indian soldiers were taken captive by the British and the well from where their remains were exhumed.
"The Gurdwara Shaheed Gunj Managing Committee and local residents have demanded a memorial-cum- museum in the memory of the martyrs. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been briefed about the skeletal remains and other things that were recovered. We have also apprised him of the residents' demands," he said.
He said a proposal in this regard has also been sent to the department of cultural affairs, whose officials have been urged to visit the spot.
"Efforts will be made to ensure that the proposal gets materialised at the earliest," he said.
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar too visited the spot at Ajnala. He said he had come to take stock of the development.
"I visited the spot to just take stock of the development considering the fact that there was a gurdwara atop the well, which was removed and relocated nearby," Makkar said.
'Need to identify martyrs' descendants'
To ensure a decent funeral for the martyrs, the Gurdwara Shaheed Gunj Managing Committee has urged the government to initiate the process of identifying their descendants. "We urge the government to send the martyrs' remains for DNA testing, since there will be a lot of claims of kinship from various quarters. The DNA testing would go a long way in helping them settle these claims," said Amarjit Singh Sarkaria, head of the committee.
He said the discovery has generated a lot of interest in other states too. Sarkaria said he had spoken to the CM, who had assured all possible help to provide land for the martyrs' funeral and for constructing a memorial-cum-museum in their memory.
Meanwhile, DC Ravi Bhagat said a team of experts from the department of cultural affairs was likely to visit the spot on Tuesday.
"They will decide what all tests need to be conducted. The needful would be done in this regard on the basis of their recommendations," said the DC.