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1857 anniversary: Dy speaker creates flutter

May 10, 2007 13:44 IST

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal on Thursday stunned President A P J Abdul Kalam and several other dignitaries in Parliament when he protested against the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the 1857 uprising.

Atwal and three other MPs from Punjab -- Rattan Singh Ajnala, Veerendra Singh Bajwa (both Akali Dal) and Tarlochan Singh (Independent) -- said the 1845 Anglo-Sikh war was the First War of Independence.

They said it was wrong to project the 1857 revolt as the First War of Independence.

Atwal's protest came midway through the function in the historic Central Hall of Parliament, addressed by the President, the vice president, the prime minister and the Lok Sabha speaker.

His brief protest came when Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat rose to address the gathering comprising MPs, ministers and senior leaders including former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Leader of the Opposition L K Advani.

Earlier, when Speaker Somnath Chatterjee started his address, the three other members created a flutter by staging the protest which caught the gathering unaware.

Later, Tarlochan Singh and Veerendra Singh said the protest was against attempts to rewrite history. They said the 1845 war, led by Sikh General Shyam Singh Attariwala, needed to be treated as the First War of Independence.

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