Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj is located right above the spot where the soldiers were buried in the well — known as Kalianwala Khoo. The committee has now decided to dismantle the existing gurdwara and build a new one in the same area, following which, excavation work will be taken up.
The committee will immerse the remains of the soldiers in the Ganga after the excavation, which it plans to finish by July 31 — the day celebrated as their martyrdom day.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new gurdwara was on Thursday held by Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh. Among those who were present on the occasion was Khadoor Sahib MP Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala.
“Most of the soldiers who were killed and buried in the well were Hindus. So, we have decided to immerse their remains in the Ganga. While no exact time frame could be given, even though we have started work for new gurdwara, we would try our level best to complete the excavation by July 31,” committee president Amarjit Singh Sarkaria said, adding that help of experts could be also taken for excavation work.
Sarkaria said the management started to search for the exact location of the well about a month ago. They carried out excavation work and found some part of the well. “After working out the details, it has emerged that the building of the existing gurdwara is right over the well. The existing gurdwara was built about 40 years ago,” he added.
The Akal Takht chief said the new gurdwara will be much larger in size and dedicated to the martyrs of Kalianwala Khoo. A platoon of 400 soldiers had reportedly have crossed over Ravi. Under orders by then Amritsar deputy commissioner Fredric Cooper, they were left in a coop-like room, resulting in the death of nearly 200 soldiers due to asphyxia. The remaining soldiers were shot dead the next morning and their dead bodies dumped in the well.
MP Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala said while he had been raising the issue, but due to lack of information about the exact location of the well, nothing substantial could be done till now. “Now, since the well has been located, we will excavate and preserve it as historical place after its restoration. During the excavation that was carried out recently, some bones had also been found. These are likely to be remains of the soldiers,” Ajnala said.
“We will also write to the Archaeological Survey of India to assist us in the excavation work,” the MP said.