Jail where Bhagat Singh held in ruins; memorial promise unkept
The prison, where Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh was incarcerated and executed, is in a dilapidated condition with broken doors and rough flooring, a far cry from the promise made by a top lawmaker in Pakistan to build a memorial for the martyr.
Bhagat Singh and his comrades-in-arms Sukhdev and Rajguru, were hanged on 23rd March, 1931 in Lahore central jail, used by the British to detain revolutionary freedom fighters.
"In 2007, the birth centenary year of Bhagat Singh, the then Governor of Pakistan's Punjab province promised to build a memorial in Lahore but the promise has not been fulfilled, the legendary martyr's brother Jagmohan told PTI over phone from Ludhiana.
The trio was detained for two years, from April 8, 1929 to March 23, 1931, at the jail, on charges of murdering British officer J P Saunders and throwing bombs in the Central Assembly.
Two years ago, Pakistan authorities had turned down the demand of an Indian NGO to name Shadman Chowk in Lahore after Bhagat Singh. The 'phansighat' (gallows) where Bhagat Singh was executed in the Kot Lakhpat Jail, has since been demolished.
Director of the Institute of Peace Studies had requested the then President General Pervez Musharraf on the eve of the 100th birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh that the Chowk be named after him.
The jail is in ruins, with broken doors and rough flooring showing the utter neglect of the place where the three revolutionaries had laid down their lives. The government of Punjab province has done nothing on the assurance of a memorial, 65-year old Jagmohan said.
"We are demanding that the jail should be restored and all the freedom fighters along with Bhagat Singh be honoured for having laid down their lives fighting the British empire," Jagmohan said.
Bhagat Singh's family has also demanded that the Bradlaugh Hall in Lahore be converted into a museum where his personal memorabilia confiscated by the British, be displayed. "The Hall is where Bhagat Singh performed drama and cultural activities," Jagmohan said.
The better part of Bhagat Singh's life was spent in Lahore. His father, a patriot and a Congress worker, had a farmhouse near Lahore. Bhagat Singh and his father had long association with Bradlaugh Hall, the centre of nationalist movement, located in the premises of the National College, where Bhagat Singh had his education.
A Lahore court has preserved Bhagat Singh's memorabilia including 170 books he read while in jail, a letter written to his mother and some clothes. "A relative recently saw these things which are in good condition. They need to be preserved for posterity to inspire our future generations," he said.