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Pak groups want Lahore square named after Bhagat Singh

March 24, 2010 15:28 IST

Pakistani rights groups and members of civil society have demanded that the place in Lahore where freedom fighter Bhagat Singh was hanged should be named after him to commemorate his role in the movement for the independence of the subcontinent.

A large number of people, including students from various educational institutions, gathered for a rally on Tuesday at Shadman Chowk, the spot where Singh was hanged in 1931 at the age of 23, to mark the 79th anniversary of his martyrdom.

People who participated in the rally said the government should rename Shadman Chowk as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk.

The gallows of Lahore Jail were located at the site till they were demolished in the 1960s and replaced with the square and a residential colony.

Speakers at the rally described Singh as one of the pioneers of the struggle for an independent subcontinent.

Participants carried candles, banners and posters and demanded the preservation of historic places linked to revolutionaries like Singh.

The participants, in a token gesture, placed a plaque with details of Singh's heroics at Shadman Chowk.

Rights activist Saeeda Diep said the citizens of Lahore had launched an initiative for preserving the city's heritage by naming the square after Singh and the government should also rename Shadman Colony as Bhagat Singh Colony as he gave his life for the independence of the subcontinent.

Diep said the ruling establishment might not like heroes like Bhagat Singh, Dullah Bhatti, Rai Ahmad Khan Kharal, Peer Sibghat Ullah and Kartar Singh for being among those who challenged the authoritarian agendas of the establishment but they are heroes of the people and they would not be forgotten.

She said the people would acquire other places linked to Bhagat Singh, like his alma mater Bradlaugh Hall, from the government to convert them into a small museum or a library dedicated to the life of the martyr.

"The government has named cities and places after a number of foreigners but it has failed to name a few places after a legendary person who received worldwide recognition and was the son of the soil. People won't tolerate this injustice anymore and that is why they have gathered here today," she said.

Taranjeet Singh, a Sikh from Hassanabdal, told the media that he had come to Shadman Chowk to mark the anniversary of Singh's martyrdom.

He said Singh was the person who took up arms against the British and launched the freedom struggle by taking along people of all creeds, unlike political parties, which only talked about people having similar ideologies.

He said he had seen schools, colleges and colonies named after Bhagat Singh in Canada, Britain, Europe and India, but it was unfortunate that Singh had been ignored by the people of his homeland.

At another gathering organised by the World Punjabi Congress, the body's chairman Fakhar Zaman said Bhagat Singh embraced execution in the name of his nation and set an unprecedented example.

He announced that his organisation will build a commemorative monument at Shadman Chowk and appealed to the Punjab government to support this venture.

Zaman also urged the Indian government to build monuments honouring Rai Ahmned Khan Kharal, Dullah Bhatti and other heroes of Punjab.
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