Martyr’s house a bone of contention
Two factions, claiming to be the real kin of Sukhdev, rest their claim on his ancestral house, demand right to maintain the property
LUDHIANA: Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s 104-year-old ancestral house in Naughara Mohalla has become a bone of contention between two factions claiming to be the “real kin” of the martyr.
Vishal Nayyar who recently claimed to be a kin of the martyr began a hunger strike at Jagraon bridge on Tuesday. Nayyar is asking the government to declare him the legal heir of the building so that he can take responsibility of its maintenance and convert it into a heritage site.
Revolutionary freedom fighters Sukhdev, Rajguru and Bhagat Singh were hanged in Lahore Central Jail on March 23, 1931.
Nayyar’s mother Babli Nayyar, who claims to the martyr’s niece, is also on a hunger strike. Nayyar and his mother would continue the fast for five days.
Alleging that the trustees of Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust were misleading the public and administration, Nayyar said the government had taken over the martyr’s house in 2007.
“In spite of Punjab tourism minister promising to convert the building into a heritage site, nothing has been done so far. Consequently, some imposters have made a trust and resting their claim on the property,” Nayyar alleged.
On the other hand, trustees of Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust said they had been maintaining the house for the past four years. Asserting their right on the house in their capacity as “real kin” of the martyr, the trustees said they wanted to convert it into a museum.
Sandeep Thapar Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust members said martyr’s cousin Shanta Jhanji who handed over the property to the trust before her death was a close associate of the trustees.
However, Nayyar refuted this and asked them to produce legal documents to support this claim.
Interestingly, the war of possession is not restricted to the “verbal combat”, as both the groups are producing photograph’s featuring the who’s who of the city on various functions organised by them.
Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust secretary Sandeep Thapar said they did not want government funds. “We have struggled for years to get the house vacated from Ranjit Kaur Sood, the tenant who was living in the house for decades. The trust paid Rs 3 lakh to her just to preserve the martyr’s house as a symbol of his legacy. We are going to Pakistan in December to get chattels of Sukhdev from the Lahore Jail,” he said.
Dr R Vatsyayan, noted Ayurvedacharya from the city, said, “I was born in Nuaghara Mohalla in 1954 and share my birthplace with the great martyr. I am pained to see people fighting for the legal right of his birthplace. The government should intervene and make a common trust of caretakers for the house,” said Dr Vatsyayan.
Vishal Nayyar on a hunger strike at Jagraon bridge in Ludhiana on Tuesday.