Narendra Modi pays tribute to freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai on birth anniversary, says he was a 'righteous' leader

Leaders cutting across party lines on Sunday paid tribute to freedom fighter and architect of India's swadeshi movement, Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Rai was "a righteous and courageous leader who dedicated himself towards India’s freedom".

Popularly known by the twin monikers of "Sher-e-Punjab" and "Punjab Kesari", Rai was born on 28 January 1865 in undivided Punjab. He was part of the Lal-Bal-Pal trio, which led the independence movement in the early 20th Century.

Rai also worked as a social reformer and fought against the evils of untouchability. Along with Chittaranjan Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he was one of the earliest proponents of the Swadeshi in India.

The freedom fighter is also known for establishing the Punjab National Bank in present-day Lahore. The Congress leader who served as the party president in the Calcutta session of 1920, died on 17 November 1928 after succumbing to the injuries that he sustained during a lathicharge by the British authorities. He is reported to have said on his deathbed, "I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffins of British rule in India."

His death led to revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev vowing to take revenge against police officer James A Scott, who was responsible for ordering the lathicharge against Rai. A month later, on 17 December 1928, the trio along with Chandrashekhar Azad killed John Saunders, in a case of mistaken identity.

President Ram Nath Kovind and several other leaders including BJP chief Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also paid tribute to the freedom fighter on Twitter.

Former Union minister CP Joshi and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot also paid tribute to Rai while highlighting his association with the Indian National Congress.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that Rai's death inspired nationalism in India.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Rajashtan chief minister Vasundhara Raje also remembered the freedom fighter on Twitter. They said:

Updated Date: Jan 28, 2018 11:04:00 IST