Despite ‘protected’ tag, Bhagat Singh’s hideout in disarray - ECAS Punjab

Despite ‘protected’ tag, Bhagat Singh’s hideout in disarray

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Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, September 27

Five years down the line since its protected-monument notification, the state government has failed to make any concerted effort for the development and preservation of the historical double-storey building which Bhagat Singh-led Krantikari Party used as a secret hideout.

Owned by trust

At present, the building is under the control of the Krishna Bhakti Satsang Trust. Trustee Nand Kishore Sharma said his grandfather Pt Lahori Ram Shastri had met Bhagat Singh several times here. "I am ready to do anything for the construction of a museum in this building," he said.

On December 17, 2015, the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs had declared the building a protected one under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1964, after advocate HC Arora filed a petition in the High Court amid residents' clamour for the tag.

Since then, no step has been taken to take care of it. At present, the building is under the control of the Krishna Bhakti Satsang Trust. Trustee Nand Kishore Sharma said his grandfather Pt Lahori Ram Shastri had met Bhagat Singh several times here. "I am ready to do anything for the construction of a museum in this building," he says.

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Rakesh Kumar, Author

Strategic importance

While a pharmacy shop ran on the ground floor, the first floor was used by revolutionaries to make bombs and evolve strategies against the oppressive British rule.

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Earlier, the district administration had even served the occupants a notice not to alter the structure or sell the premises. Thereafter, the then Deputy Commissioner DPS Kharbanda had mooted a proposal in 2016 to relocate the ground floor shop and the family here to another location for which an agreement was also drafted. However, the matter hasn't moved beyond files. Politicians often made promises, but these turn out to be hollow.

Former minister Navjot Sidhu came here two years ago and promised Rs 15 lakh for renovation, but funds never came.

"For me, this building is no less than a pilgrimage site as I have grown up on stories around this hideout which was taken on rent by my father Dr Gaya Prashad under the fake name of Dr BS Nigam to run a pharmacy shop in 1928-29," says Kranti Kumar Katiyar, demanding a museum here.

"While the pharmacy shop ran on the ground floor, the first floor was used by the revolutionaries to make bombs and evolve strategies against the oppressive British rule," says Rakesh Kumar, who has authored several books on this monument. "The government should release a special grant to develop this historical building," he says.

The pistol that Bhagat Singh used to kill British officer John Saunders in 1928 is kept in the BSF Museum at the Indo-Pakistan Joint Check Post (JCP) in Hussainiwala. "That pistol, along with several books and historical notes on the freedom fighter, should be brought here," Rakesh adds.



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