Friday, May 11, 2007

Treat Anglo-Sikh war as first: MPs

Disagreeing with the view that 1857 was the First War of Independence, Tarlochan Singh, Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana, today said that it was a part of the movement for independence.
Tarlochan Singh, who was accompanied by Shiromani Akali Dal MPs Rattan Singh Ajnala and Virender Singh Bajwa, said that the 1845 Anglo-Sikh war was the fiercest battle against the Britishers.
He said the government was observing on a grand scale the 150th anniversary of the 1857 war but "no such functions were held during the centenary year in 1957 when Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru was the Prime Minister."
The MP said they respected the 1857 martyrs and wanted that all those who were part of the movement should be paid respects. The MPs said they had raised the matter in the Parliament and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal had supported their views.
Atwal argued that projection of 1857 as the First War of Independence was a "misnomer" as the Anglo-Sikh war preceded that.
The protest came midway through the function addressed by the President, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee. It was attended by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, leader of opposition L.K. Advani, ministers, MPs and senior leaders.
The Vice-President, who had risen to address the gathering, was caught unawares when Atwal raised the issue.
Tarlochan Singh and Bajwa later said the 1845 war, led by Sikh General Shyam Singh Attariwala, has to be treated as the first War of Independence.