Shaheed Memorial being rebuilt at Wagah ( Indo – Pak ) Border
Lehmber Singh Taggar
AN organisation by the nameFolklore Research Academy(FRA)is active in Amritsar for the last more than 25 years. This organisation is dedicated to the cause of Indo –Pak friendship, cultural exchange between the two parts of Punjab ( East and West ) on both sides of the border, maintenance of peace and brotherhood and other noble causes. Prominent writers, journalists, intellectuals, artists and other professionals of Pakistan and India have been closely related with this organisation. It is constantly active to pursue its above-mentioned objectives.
Ramesh Yadav, an intellectual, scholar and a firm believer in principles of democracy and secularism is the life and soul of this organisation and guides its activities. About 20-22 years ago FRA had built an impressive memorial dedicated to the pious memory of more than 10 lakh Punjabis who were killed during the partition of India in 1947. They decided to invite a well-known freedom fighter, prominent political leader and general secretary of CPI(M), Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet to inaugurate this memorial. Comrade Surjeet accepted the invite. The inaugural stone was prepared and installed but due to unavoidable circumstances, Comrade Surjeet could not go there in the inaugural function. He sent a message to the organisers requesting them to get the inauguration done by someone else. But the organisers decided that the inaugural stone in the name of Comrade Surjeet would remain as it was. They decided that whenever time permitted, they would call Comrade Surjeet. It was an expression of faith and respect towards Comrade Surjeet by the organisation.
After about three-four years Comrade Surjeet was scheduled to attend the death anniversary of Comrade Dalip Singh Tapiala in Amritsar district. He sent a message to the organisation stating that he would be visiting the Shaheed Memorial at Wagah Border. Ramesh Yadav and his team led Comrade Surjeet to the Shaheed Memorial at Wagah Border. Lehmber Singh Taggar, Major Singh Bhikhiwind, Sucha Singh Ajnala, Bibi Gurparamjit Kaur Taggar, Darbara Singh Lopoke and many other comrades also accompanied Comrade Surjeet. A simple but impressive function was organised.
Thereafter for about 20 years, lakhs of people went to Wagah Border, visited the memorial and paid their tributes to the innocent people who lost their lives during the partition. About a year ago some government department, along with Border Security Force ( BSF ) demolished the memorial and other constructions around it in the name of beautification, showing insensitivity callousness, carelessness and ignorance about the importance of the place. As soon as the organisation got the information, they visited the place and after inspection of the complex raised the issue before the public through print and electronic media. There was massive resentment among the people against this act of the government departments. There was a severe condemnation of this act of the government throughout.
Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, state secretary, CPI(M) along with Sucha Singh Ajnala, visited the place and condemned the irresponsible action of the central and state government departments. The Party demanded from the government that the memorial should be reconstructed and the inaugural stone of Comrade Surjeet should be installed again. Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon wrote a letter to the Punjab chief minister in this regard and demanded his personal intervention to sort out this issue ensuring that the memorial is rebuilt at the same place with the foundation stone of Comrade Surjeet in its place. Officers of other concerned departments were also approached by the Party for the needful action. After about three-four months the archaeological department informed the Party that the Shaheed Memorial will be reconstructed and the inaugural stone of Comrade Surjeet will be installed there. As per reports received from Ramesh Yadav and our Sucha Singh Ajnala, district secretary of CPI(M) the reconstruction work has begun and the inaugural stone has been prepared. They informed that the 1947 martyrs’ Shaheed Memorial will be ready shortly and the inaugural stone will be installed. The Party appreciates and welcomes the action of the Punjab government to correct its wrongdoing.