Declare Mar 23 as gazetted holiday or cancel restricted status: Activists

Lovleen Bains

Doraha, March 20

Social workers, freedom fighters and intellectuals of the area have demanded either a gazette holiday on the martyrdom day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev on March 23 or cancellation of the restricted one.

Social activist Lakhwinder Singh Buani said, “Bhagat Singh was and shall remain a symbol of anti-imperialist struggle. Cancelling the holidays on his, Rajguru and Sukhdev’s martyrdom day is injustice to the martyrs. Bhagat Singh, along with his comrades, and the Hindustan Socialist Republic Army shook the foundations of the British imperialism in India but what are we offering in return?”

“Giani Zail Singh as Chief Minister of Punjab gave due regard to the martyrs and their families. He always declared a gazetted holiday on March 23. He also honoured Bhagat Singh’s mother with ‘Punjab Maata’ title and developed Bhagat Singh’s ancestral home at Khatkar Kalan as a museum. When Capt Amarinder Singh became the Chief Minister of Punjab in 2002, his first task was to cancel the gazetted status given to the holidays on the martyrdom day and birthday of Bhagat Singh, what to talk of giving him the status of ‘Shaheed’. When the SAD government came to power in 2007, it again restored the gazetted status for these two holidays on March 23 and September 28,” said social worker Jandeep Kaushal.

“It is very sorry to say that as Capt Amarinder Singh again became the Chief Minister in 2017, his first task was to withdraw the gazetted status of these two holidays again and convert them into restricted holidays. By doing so, the Chief Minister has done serious injustice to the martyrs. Youths in large numbers used to assemble at Khattkar Kalan or Hussainiwala to offer tributes to their beloved leaders when it used to be a gazette holiday. If not this, then the restricted holiday too should be cancelled and the government should make mandatory for each and every school and college to organise trips for students and make them visit the martyrs’ places in order to make the youth aware of their duties towards their nation,” he added.

Chairman of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Centenary Foundation, Prof Jagmohan Singh, opined, “In my view, the day should be observed as a day of contemplation. The teachers should educate the students regarding Bhagat Singh’s philosophy and ideals for which he lived and died. These days everybody is over cautious about his rights but as far as the duties are concerned, none wishes to be actually bothered. This is the day when the youths need to be made aware of the fundamental duties enshrined in the constitution so that they may understand their responsibilities towards their nation as a whole.”

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