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Lahorites keep Bhagat Singh`s memory alive

March 24, 2009

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LAHORE, March 23 Lahorites kept the memory of freedom-fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh burning on Monday by organising a candle-light tribute at Fawara Chowk, the spot where he and two other freedom fighters were hanged 78 years ago.

A portrait of the young revolutionary, considered by historians being one of the most influential fighters in the independence movement, was placed in the centre of the roundabout while some dozens of people lit candles, held placards and raised slogans commemorating his deeds.

“We salute you, Bhagat Singh,” they cried, while resurrecting several partition-era slogans and calling for an end to imperialistic policies by foreign powers in the region. The socialist revolutionary rose to fame after a 63-day fast in jail, when he demanded equal rights for Indians living under the British Raj.

The people who had come to attend the event reserved special ire for M Khan Kasuri, the magistrate who oversaw the hanging of Bhagat Singh along with fellow revolutionaries Rajguru and Sukhdev. Organisers of the event stated that Mr Kasuri was the only magistrate who accepted the orders while others had refused.

Mr Kasuri was the grandfather of Ahmed Raza Kasuri, who was government counsel in the dual office petition against former military ruler Musharraf in 2007. Former President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was also hanged after being convicted of conspiracy to murder Ahmed Raza Kasuri.

Advocate Abdullah Malik, who had organised the event under the somewhat ironically-titled banner of 'Bhagat Singh Foundation for Peace & Culture', said “It's important to highlight the unsung heroes of our liberation movement,” adding that Lahoris had only recently begun to awaken to the sacrifices of non-Muslim figures in the struggle for independence.

Rights activist Saaeda Diep said it was a matter of shame that the government had not renamed the roundabout years ago in honour of Bhagat Singh. Twelve years have now passed since her first application to the Lahore DCO to rename the roundabout, she said, but the demands had fallen upon deaf ears.

The foundation announced their intentions to once more appeal to the district government to rename the roundabout, build a memorial on it, and ask the government to recognise and celebrate Shaheed Bhagat Singh Day at an official level.