Identifying Ajnala martyrs becomes British struggle

Amritsar, Punjab: The Indian leaders aren’t keen to identify the martyrs whose remains lay in Kalianwala Khuh (well of the blacks) at Ajnala since the first War of Independence in 1857, but British politicians are.

Nearly 50 British leaders have joined hands with Punjabi expatriates to ask the UK government to dig into its archives and come up with the names of the 282 massacred soldiers of 26th Native Infantry Regiment.

“Our central and state governments are yet to send the remains for the DNA test, forensic examination and preservation, while the UK Sikhs and politicians have asked British Prime Minister David Cameron to release the martyrs’ names and order verification at the site” said historian Surinder Kochhar, who is credited with the excavation at the Kalianwala Khuh site.

He expects the list to be available in a few more days. “The matter has reached London directly instead of going via media, the state, and the Centre,” said the historian. The office of Queen Elizabeth, history department of Britain, British Prime Minister’s office have all records of the struggle of 1857. “It’s all up to Cameron, whose office has released already the names of the soldiers killed in Meerut in 1857,” said Kochhar.

The historian has reported pressure on Gurdwara Shaheed Gunj Managing Committee from the local administration to cremate the martyrs’ remains, even though the government is yet to mark land for it. “We told officials in a meeting with them here that that there would be no funeral until the DNA tests were over and the government had given us the desired land,” said Kochhar.

Asked to react, Ajnala subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Surinder Singh denied any pressure on the gurdwara committee. “The government has formed a committee to look into the demand for the DNA tests and funeral land,” he said.

Source: HT

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