Sikh freedom fighters ignored in Andaman: SGPC report
PATIALA: A seven-member inquiry committee of the SGPC has reported that the contribution of Sikhs in the freedom struggle of the country has been undermined and ignored at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where the pictures of Punjabis, mostly Sikhs, have been removed from the galleries of museum. Besides, the light and sound programme performed every evening near the Cellular Jail also does not mention anything about the Sikhs or Punjabis.
The committee, which left on April 30 and retturned on may 3, will soon submit its report to SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar. It found that names of Sikh martyrs and Punjabis imprinted on stones were far less than the actual number of martyrs. The committee members were verifying the exact number with help of various books written by historians. The panel stated that pictures of Sikh freedom fighters were removed in the name of repair only six months back by the authorities and were not hanged again. The information of Sikhs’ contribution from number of other places at the island has been deleted while there is no mention about the name of Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani, who made the biggest contribution to the freedom struggle.
SGPC general secretary Amarjit Singh Chawla said that, “The Sikhs have made a lot of sacrifices in the freedom struggle and their number was the highest even in the list of political prisoners imprisoned at the Cellular Jail. There has been no mention of the sacrifices by the Sikhs in the programmes being shown to visitors. There is not a single word ofnformation given to visitors about famous freedom fighters, including Sohan Singh Bhakna, Gurmukh Singh, Bhan Singh, Dr Kalepani and many others. There are over 75 names of Sikhs on stones for their contributions, but we are trying to find out more names of Punjabis and Sikhs who contributed to freedom struggle here.”
However, the SGPC members claimed that Andaman and Nicobar Island Lt Gov Jagdish Mukhi had assured them to revisit the light and sound program at Cellular Jail.
“The sound and light programme is organised in two separate shows of one hour each. The first show is held from 6-7 pm and another from 7-8 pm. However, there is no mention about the contribution of a single Punjabi or Sikh despite the fact that theye large number of sacrifices in the freedom struggle,” said Paramvir Singh, member of the SGPC inquiry committee and professor at department of Encyclopaedia of Sikhism at Punjabi University, Patiala.