NEW DELHI: The family of freedom fighter Sukhdev may go on an indefinite hunger strike in New Delhi from Friday to demand that the government formally recognize Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh and Rajguru as martyrs. The protest begins on the 87th death anniversary of the three men, who were hanged by the British.
"It has been around 70 years since independence, but they have not been given the status of martyr yet," pointed out a member of Sukhdev's family. Family members of Sukhdev said they would approach the government with their demand. If the government does not agree, they would go on a hunger strike in New Delhi, they said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to them by marking their death anniversary in a morning tweet. "The martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru & Sukhdev was a watershed moment in our history. Every Indian is proud that these three great men belong to our land. At the peak of their youth they sacrificed their lives so that others can live a life of freedom and dignity," read PM Modi's tweet.
The martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru & Sukhdev was a watershed moment in our history. Every Indian is proud that these three great men belong to our land. At the peak of their youth they sacrificed their lives so that others can live a life of freedom and dignity. pic.twitter.com/XatfuPbyNK
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 23, 2018
The three men had been convicted in the Lahore Conspiracy Case, and were hanged for their roles in the 1928 killing of 21-year-old junior British police officer John Saunders. They had shot the wrong man. They had intended to kill a different officer, Superintendent of Police James A Scott, who had led the lathicharge in which independence movement leader Lala Lajpat Rai sustain the injuries he never recovered from and subsequently died of.
Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru had been convicted and were hanged together on March 23, 1931 in Lahore. They have since become folk heroes of a sort and have been hailed for their willingness to give up their lives at such a young age. Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev were 23, and Rajguru 22 when they were hanged.
They have become cult figures as a byword for valour, and a number of movies and documentaries have been made on them. Their imagery, especially that of Bhagat Singh, also emerges from time to time as an identity assertion by a handful of communities.