Shaheed Diwas is observed on 23 March to mark the occasion when freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar were hanged to death by the British in 1931. The three were convicted for the assassination of John Saunders, a British police officer.
Apart from 23 March, five more martyrs’ days are observed across the nation, in memory of those who laid down their lives for the country.
The Simon Commission set up by the British government under the leadership of Sir John Simon to report on the political situation in India was met with protest when it visited Lahore on 30 October, 1928. The Indian political parties were against this Commission as it did not include a single Indian member.
Upon its arrival in Lahore, it faced protests with Lajpat Rai leading non-violent marches. Frustrated by the protests, superintendent of police James A Scott ordered lathicharge on protestors and personally assaulted Rai. Due to the assault, Rai suffered injuries and succumbed to it on 17 November, 1928.
The killing of Rai infuriated Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru and the three decided to avenge the senior leader’s death by killing Scott. However, things did not go as per their plan and they shot Saunders by mistake while he was leaving the district police headquarters in Lahore on 17 December, 1928.
As a punishment for killing Saunders, the hanging of the three freedom fighters was ordered.
How is the day observed
People across the country remember the bravehearts on this day, with political leaders and celebrities paying tribute by offering flowers on their photos. In some places, cultural programmes are organised to remember the contribution of the freedom fighters.
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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2020 13:13:55 IST