Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh, 27th July :Shopping Complex has come up along with the Tehsil complex or old police station of border town Ajnala, the protected monument where at least 200 mutineers of 1857 revolt died of asphyxia. The rest of the mutineers were executed at the behest of then Deputy Commissioner Fredric Cooper.
The incident dates back to 3rd June, 1857. The huge complex of the Old Tehsil where the mutineers were imprisoned is in a state of desolation. There are encroachments galore though the Government has declared it a Protected Monument.
Garbage can be seen strewn inside and outside the heritage building. Worse, the BSNL has installed its tower in the Tehsil complex, is also a threat to the monument. The overhead wires of the BSNL make the front of the building. Though the telephone building has been shifted to the new adjoining building, no step has been taken to remove the tower. The keys of the old Tehsil are said to be with officials of the BSNL.
A large number of kiosks dot the boundary wall of the “protected monument”. Few residents said the monument had been the office-cum-residence of the Tehsildar and Treasury Officer even after Independence and it had been in a good condition till late ’80s. Residents of the town also claim a few years back a local person found some skeletons from the site of the historical well while digging near the place. It is said after that the administration banned digging in the area. There has been a demand for proper excavation to dig out the skeletons of the mutineers so that their cremation is done as per rituals.
No efforts were ever made to know the names of these “freedom fighters” by the state or any social organization and we are going to celebrate Independence Day on15th August, 2008.