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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 10, 2007
Punjab MPs protest celebrations of 150th year of 1857 revolt in Parliament
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Punjab MPs protest celebrations of 150th year of 1857 revolt in Parliament

The joint session of Parliament, convened to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1857 uprising, on Thursday, faced protest from some members belonging to Punjab, who said the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845 should be seen as the first war of independence.

New Delhi, May 10 : The joint session of Parliament, convened to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1857 uprising, on Thursday, faced protest from some members belonging to Punjab, who said the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845 should be seen as the first war of independence.

Four MPs-- Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Rattan Singh Ajnala, Veerendra Singh Bajwa (both Akali Dal) and Tarlochan Singh (Independent)-- disputed the date of the beginning of the war of independence and said it began much earlier to 1857, as is the common notion.

These members unsuccessfully tried to raise the issue during the joint session in the historic Central Hall of Parliament, which was addressed by President APJ Abdul Kalam, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chaterjee.

"We have objected to the fact that the 1857 uprising has been called the first war of Indian independence. That is absolutely wrong. It is historically wrong and we seem to have forgotten our heroes who fought the British long before 1857. It is total disrespect for them," said Tarlochan Singh.

They said the 1845 Anglo-Sikh War, led by Sikh General Shyam Singh Attariwala, should be treated as the first war of independence, instead of the revolt of 1857.

Several senior leaders, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Congress party president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and Opposition Leader in Lok Sabha L K Advani, were present in the House among others.

The Indian uprising of 1857 was a prolonged period of armed encounters in different parts of the country against British colonialists.

Having started as an act of defiance by a handful of Hindu and Muslim soldiers, who refused to use rifle bullets said to be greased with beef and pork fat, it became a popular revolt against the British rule.

This uprising brought about the end of the British East India Company's rule in the country, and led to direct rule by the British Government of much of the Indian subcontinent for the next 90 years.

ANI

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