Tributes to freedom fighter Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani


Two doctor families of Tarn Taran district, on their annual excursion, preferred to visit the Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to pay tributes to a renowned freedom fighter who gave up his life at quite a young age for the cause of freedom fighters lodged there. Dr Surinder Singh Kainth, a surgeon, his wife Gurcharan Kaur and Dr Jasbir Singh Cheema, a paediatrician of Patti and his wife Manjit Kaur, a retired teacher, went recently to pay tributes as they had read much about the sacrifice of Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani. Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani (22.5.1897 to 13/14.1.1944) was a medical officer in the jail when he developed affection for the prisoners living in inhuman conditions for their only ‘fault’ was to love their country. The doctor families gained a lot of information from there regarding the selfless service of Dr Kalepani who not only treated the prisoners lodged in Cellular Jail but also gave medical aid to the tribal families settled in the jail surroundings. Dr Kainth and Dr Cheema said the jail cells were itself a clear indication of the cruelty meted out to the prisoners who were locked in 14.8X 8.8 feet cell with ventilator at a height of 9.8 feet. There was no bathroom, toilet, bed, electricity and they were prevented from communicating with the other prisoners. The family of Dr Kalepani looked after the gurdwara which was established by Dr Kalepani himself and is now being looked after by his family. His son Dr Mohinder Singh, in his old age, is taking interest in looking after the gurdwara and the family also established a school there. Dr Kainth and Dr Cheema said their families and the countrymen, particularly the Sikh community, were proud of the sacrifices of Dr Kalepani and others like him whose sacrifices had made it possible for us to live in a free India.

‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ encouraging for Congressmen

Congress leaders in a meeting with Member of Parliament Gurjeet Singh Aujla. Photos: Gurbaxpuri

The much awaited arrival of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ started by Rahul Gandhi in the district is not only proving to be encouraging for the politically frustrated Congressmen but also an open threat to the popularity of the ruling AAP. The Congress party lost all the four Vidhan Sabha seats to the AAP in the 2022 Assembly elections. The situation is looking to be different gradually from the gatherings called by DCC president Harminder Singh Gill, former MLA, in preparing party workers for the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The party workers too have been attending the meetings with enthusiasm. Not only this, the enthusiastic party workers have started to renovate the Congress Bhawan in Tarn Taran, built soon after the Partition, with their own funds. It is the first move against the AAP government after it formed the government in Punjab. Harminder Singh Gill, who has a rich political background, also has the technique to convince big gatherings according to their psyche. Gill remained the president of the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) for more than 20 years and has good oratorical skills. He started convening street -corner meetings and is said to be receiving good response.

Following Gill, other party leaders too have come out to mobilise workers in their respective Vidhan Sabha areas. Former MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki is conducting meetings in Khadoor Sahib and former MLA Sukhpal Singh Bhullar is active in Khemkaran. Tarn Taran, the Vidhan Sabha constituency represented by Dr Dharambeer Agnihotri, is witnessing activities by his son Sandeep Agnihotri, Maninderpal Singh Palasaur and others. A few days back, the Congress party held a meeting in which Gurjit Singh Aujla, Lok Sabha member from Amritsar, also came to boost the morale of party workers. There were so many issues like law and order, poor condition of roads, stoppage of development work and agitation by the farmers that were taken up by the Congress leaders. Some other political parties too have come up with their own issues. Political activities have gathered momentum in the district which is only increasing day by day.