Will add Saragarhi battle to tourism circuit, school textbooks: Manpreet Badal

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, while presiding over the 120th anniversary function, reiterated that Saragarhi will be developed as “a major tourist centre” and work on a museum “will commence soon”.

punjab Updated: Sep 13, 2017 11:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ferozepur
Saragarhi,Saragarhi battle,Manpreet Badal
Major General Duncon Francis Capps, who led a 15-member British army team, being honoured by ministers Manpreet Badal, Navjot Sidhu and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot at a function to mark the 120th anniversary of the battle of Saragarhi in Ferozepur on Tuesday. (HT Photo)

Participation by 15 British army officers and three cabinet ministers of Punjab marked the state-level function on the martyrdom anniversary of 21 Sikh warriors and a non-combatant of the famed Saragarhi battle of 1897 at its memorial in Ferozepur on Tuesday.

Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, while presiding over the 120th anniversary function, reiterated that Saragarhi will be developed as “a major tourist centre” and work on a museum “will commence soon”, besides a library and revamp of basic facilities. “The great history of the warriors will be included into school syllabus too,” he said.

Tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and forest minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot also assured of pursuing the matter with chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who is currently away in the UK to promote his book on the battle. Local Congress MLA Parminder Singh Pinki , in his address, said he was already making efforts to put the memorial “not only on the state tourism map but also on the national tourism circuit” and demanded a special package for Saragarhi from the chief minister.

Deputy commissioner Ramvir, in his vote of thanks, particularly expressed gratitude towards the visiting British Army team led by Major Gen Duncon Francis Capps.

Descendents of the warriors were honoured at the function too.

The battle was fought on September 12, 1897, between soldiers of the British Indian Army and tribesmen in the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). The British Indian contingent had 21 soldiers and a non-combatant of the 36 Sikhs (now 4th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment of Indian Army), stationed at an army post attacked by 10,000 Afghans, and was martyred.

The Saragrahi Memorial Management Trust (SMMT), Ferozpeur, as per a notification issued by the governor, recently took over the historical memorial. The SMMT, led by Maj Gen Rajesh Kundra, general officer commanding (GOC), Golden Arrow Division, who is its ex-officio chairman, has made plans for improvement in basic infrastructure and arranging a light-and-sound show too.

First Published: Sep 13, 2017 09:31 IST