Rs 13K for 33 acres of martyr’s land! HC livid - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Rs 13K for 33 acres of martyr’s land! HC livid

Rs 13K for 33 acres of martyr’s land! HC livid

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 16

More than a century after martyr Bakshish Singh, along with Kartar Singh Sarabha and five others, was hanged in the Lahore Conspiracy Case, an order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court has virtually placed in dock successive governments in the state and at the Centre for not doing enough for revolutionaries.

“Is this how we honour and salute a martyr who gave his life at the prime of his youth, at 26 years of age, for the Independence struggle of our nation?” the High Court questioned the government of “Independent India” and the State of Punjab after the Bench was told that the claim of Bakshish Singh’s family for the return of 33 acres confiscated by the British in 1916 was declined in 1988 by offering a meagre compensation of Rs 13,000.

Enhancing the compensation to Rs 25 lakh per acre, Justice Monga asserted: “He laid down his life for the country before it eventually got freedom; the freedom which would not have been possible but for the supreme sacrifice of the likes of Bakshish Singh.”

“What homage! One must wonder, what reverence shown by the state, in appreciation and acknowledgment of the sacrifice of the martyr!” Justice Monga said, adding that the compensation was not even for martyrdom, but for confiscation of property concededly owned by the martyr. Putting things in historical perspective, Justice Monga observed: “King-Emperor versus Anand Kishore and others”, popularly known as the Lahore Conspiracy Case, started on April 26, 1915, listing 82 individuals as criminals, including Rash Behari Bose. It continued up to September 13, 1915.

The principal charge against them was that they waged a war against “the King” and wanted to overthrow the British Government in India. They resorted to enticement of Indian soldiers, collection of arms and ammunition, obtaining money by robbing government treasuries, committing murder of police officials, production of inflammatory literature and its circulation to fan rebellion. In the judgment pronounced on September 13, 1915, seven accused, including Kartar Singh Sarabha and Bakshish Singh, were condemned to death.

On consideration of evidence, the special court convicted Bakshish Singh of murder, abetment to waging war and other offences under Sections 121, 121-A, 122, 296 and 302 and 109 of the IPC. His property at Gillwali village in Amritsar district was also held liable for confiscation. His only child Gurbachan Kaur died “in the hope of getting back the property”. After Independence, she submitted representations to the Government of India for restoration of the confiscated property, but to no avail.

Another representation to Punjab’s then Chief Minister in 1962 met the same fate. It was followed by another representation to the then Chief Secretary for compensation in lieu of the confiscated property. Finally, Rs 13,000 was sanctioned. Another Rs 40,814 was sanctioned as interest from April 1, 1926, to June 25, 1988, in December 2005. In October 2013, their claim was rejected, saying they had already been compensated in 1988.

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