“The trials and mistrials of the freedom fighters are the latter’s medals, a proof of their gallantry and of the oppressive colonial treatment they were subjected to. From that angle, it is difficult to see what additional honours a retrial could confer on these heroes,” Dawn said in an editorial.
“But a reinvestigation would expose the facts and satisfy the urge to recreate a picture as close to reality as possible. It will help to better understand the system as it worked then, and maybe offer comparisons with the practices of today. To that end – the enriching of historical accounts with factual detail – it is worthwhile to revisit the case of Bhagat Singh and other persecuted freedom fighters,” it stated.
A lawyer in Lahore has sought a reopening of the case pertaining to the murder of British police officer John Saunders in 1928, which led to the execution of Bhagat Singh and his comrades Sukhdev and Rajguru, saying that he might be innocent of the charges.
Last week, the police had provided the lawyer with a copy of the FIR registered against the three freedom fighters on Dec 17, 1928, for killing then assistant superintendent of police John P Saunders in Lahore.
“The FIR does not identify those who had attacked the British police officer. This could just mean that the complainants did not know who the assailants were at the time the FIR was lodged, and that the names of the suspects might have been added later,” the editorial stated.
Bhagat Singh, 23, along with Sukhdev and Rajguru were sentenced to death for killing Saunders and the three of them were hanged in Lahore jail on March 23, 1931.
“The Lahore High Court has deemed the availability of the 1928 FIR necessary for considering the reopening of the Bhagat Singh case and has referred the case to the chief justice and a higher bench,” the editorial observed.