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Anglo Sikh War memorials in neglect

sikh-cannon

An old cannon at the entrance of the Anglo-Sikh war museum.

Even as the state government is busy setting up memorials, the existing ones remain in a sorry state.The move has not gone down well with the Congress party that alleged that notwithstanding empty coffers, the SAD was trying to play memorial card with an eye on the upcoming Assembly polls.

“Instead of focusing on the upkeep of the existing ones, the government is on a memorial-expansion spree despite its poor fiscal condition which casts aspersion on its real intentions,” said Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Congress MLA.
“On the other hand, despite promises the government has failed to develop various historical sites in this border town, including National Martyrs Memorial, Hussainiwala, Anglo-Sikh War Memorial and Bhagat Singh’’s hideout,” he added.
Earlier, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced to release Rs 13.50 crore for the development of the Hussainiwala memorial, which included the construction of an auditorium, installation of light and sound system besides provision of other amenities. However, the project is stuck in red tape, besides the desired funds are awaited.

Even the historic Anglo-Sikh War Museum constructed in memory of valiant Sikh soldiers, who died during the Anglo-Sikh Wars of 1845-46 continues to remain neglected in the absence of adequate manpower and resources. This memorial is located on the banks of twin canals on the NH-95, where the two Anglo-Sikh wars were fought in nearby villages of Sabraon, Mudki and Ferozeshah. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi during her visit to this border town a few months ago had expressed resentment over the poor upkeep of this memorial which was dedicated to the nation by her late husband Sanjay Gandhi in 1976.

The process to develop the secret hideout of Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary comrades situated in the city into a museum has still not gained momentum despite a public interest litigation filed by advocate HC Arora. The condition of other Anglo-Sikh war memorials in Mudki, Ferozeshah, Mishriwala and Sabraon also suffer from negligence. “So many war memorials and museums are fighting a battle for survival, but the government is upbeat only about the new projects,” said Parminder Singh Pinki, Congress legislator.

Anirudh Gupta, Ferozepur, Tribune India, October 28

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