Shaheed Diwas, 23 March: The day Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru were martyred!

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New Delhi | March 23, 2019 12:49 PM

Martyrs Day explained in 10 points: Everything about the day Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged.

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Not to be confused with the Martyrs Day observed on January 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated. Every year, March 23 also known as Shaheed Diwas or Sarvodaya Day is observed as Martyrs Day as a tribute to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru.

The Government of India declared March 23 as Shaheed Diwas. They fought for the freedom of India from the colonial rulers and sacrificed their lives on March 23, 1931. They were hanged to death by the British for the assassination of British Police Officer John Saunders.

They mistook John for Superintendent James Scott, who was the brain behind the lathi charge against Lala Lajpat Rai and his followers, who were protesting against the Simon Commission.

Today, March 23, 2018, on the occasion of 88th Shaheed Diwas, we bring to you 10 facts about the day Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged to death by the British.

– Indian Freedom Fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, who is also known as Punjab Kesari, played an important role in the Indian Independence Movement. Rai was injured during a protest against Simon Commission. Lala never recovered fully from the injuries and breathed his last on November 17, 1928.

– Although Bhagat Singh didn’t witness Lala’s death, he vowed to take revenge with the help of other revolutionaries including Shivram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar and Chandrashekhar Azad. They came up with a plan to kill Superintendent of Police James A Scott, who had ordered lathi charge on Lala Lajpat Rai.

– In a mistaken identity, John P Saunders who was then an Assistant Superintendent of Police was killed by Rajguru and Bhagat Singh. On December 17, 1928, Saunders was shot when he was leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore.

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– However, Chandrashekhar Azad shot dead an Indian constable Chanan Singh who tried to pursue Bhagat Singh and Rajguru as they fled. Bhagat and his associates were on the run for several months.

– In April 1929, Bhagat Singh and his associate Batukeshwar Dutt exploded 2 bombs inside the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi to protest against the Trade Dispute Act and the Public Safety Bill. The bomb didn’t kill anyone but a few were injured. Bhagat Singh could have escaped the attack but he and Batukeshwar stayed there shouting ‘Inquilab Zindabad’. This led to Bhagat Singh’s arrest.

– Singh’s arrest also brought to light his association with the John Saunders case.

– Awaiting trial, Singh joined his inmate Jatin Das in a hunger strike demanding better prison conditions for prisoners. The strike resulted in the death of Das from starvation in September 1929.

– Sukhdev was arrested after police located the bomb factory in Lahore and Saharanpur.

– Although Sukhdev and Singh were arrested in different cases, the police connected the dots and charged Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru for killing Saunders and sentenced them to death. The case was later known as the Lahore Conspiracy Case.

– Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were scheduled to be hanged on March 24 but were hanged a day before on March 23 at 7:30 pm.

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