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

HT Ludhiana Live - - Front Page - An­shu Seth an­shu. seth@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

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.

AVNEET PUNNI/ HT

Vishal Nayyar on a hunger strike at Ja­graon bridge in Ludhiana on Tues­day.

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