Source: News Bharati English14 Jan 2014 13:46:50
Port Blair, January 14: Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS) had organized for the first time in the history of independent India the Shaheed-Swaraj Dweep Samooh Naman Yatra from December 29th to January 2 to pay homage to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the country and also to remember Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose for his nationalist vision. Air Marshal R C Bajpai (Retd)PVSM, AVSM was Convener of this unique event.
It may be mentioned there that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was sworn in as the President of Azad Hind Government in Kaithe Hall of Singapore on 21st Oct 1943. He formally took over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from the Japanese as first independent territory of Azad Hind in the morning of 30th December, 1943 and renamed these Islands as Shaheed, Swaraj, Dweep Samooh.
History was created when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose hoisted Bhartiya Flag in front of Gymkhana Club (Andaman Club) at Port Blair.
In order to commemorate the event and pay homage to our freedom fighters, Forum For Integrated National Security organized a “Shaheed, Swaraj Dweep Samooh Naman Yatra’ to Andaman and Nicobar Islands from 29th December, 2013 to 01st January, 2014.
A total of 83 delegates from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Bihar, Maharastra, Chhatisgarh and Delhi reached Port Blair on 29th December, 2013. The delegates visited Cellular Jail in the evening, laid a wreath on the statue of Veer Savarkar and witnessed the Light and Sound show.
During the tour of the Jail, the team visited various cells, where prisoners were kept in solitary confinement and chained all the time. Savarkar’s cell was located at a place, from where one could witness the hanging of the prisoners.
This was meant to demoralize the important prisoners. Prisoners were used as slave labourers. They were used like bulls to turn the devise (kolhu) to extract the oil and if they failed to produce the required quota of oil, they were flogged and beaten badly.
It was horrifying and quite depressing to learn about the atrocities committed by the agents of British government on the Prisoners, who were none other than the freedom fighters. They were physically tortured even on flimsy grounds.
The relatives of executed freedom fighters were not kept informed and dead bodies were just slipped into the ocean without performing the last rights.
On the morning of 30th December, 2013, the delegates attended the Flag hoisting ceremony at Subhash stadium in Port Blair. The flag was hoisted by Lt.Governor, Lt Gen (Retd) A K Singh, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM.
Thereafter, he addressed the audience, FINS delegates and the government officials of the Island. The delegates were introduced to Lt Governor. He appreciated the initiative of the FINS team. He was told that this was the maiden effort to be followed every year. Efforts will be made to involve locals and tourists in future visits.
After the flag hoisting ceremony, a visit to Viper Island was undertaken, where for the first time the freedom fighters were taken as prisoners from mainland Bharat and left there to die, since that place was infested with deadly and poisonous insects.
Few of those, who survived, were hanged. The delegates hoisted the Bhartiya Flag at the place, where the hanging was carried out. There was nothing else to visit except the dense forest.
The government had made an effort to conduct regular Light and Sound Show, but this was abandoned after the Tsunami, which destroyed the already constructed structure. It was learnt that this Island was leased to Malaysia for just a paltry sum of one rupee under a secret deal, where it was planned to construct an amusement park and a hotel.
A huge sum of money was given as bribe. When people came to know of this, a team led by the local MP Shri Vishnupad Ray organized protest marches and dharnas, which resulted in cancellation of this murky deal by the then Lt Governor.
A meet was organized in the evening to discuss Development, Environment and Security of this group of islands. Hall was over crowded. More than 300 people attended the meeting. Air Marshal R C Bajpai, PVSM, AVSM (Retd) discussed the history of FINS.
He spoke about the the prevailing security scenario in the country and mentioned the Internal and external security threats. He further emphasized the need for strengthening the security arrangements of A &N islands in view of the hostile environment in the neighbourhood. He also expressed concern about the absence of a strong Defence and Foreign Policy.
Shri Salim Asharfi, Chairman of state Wakf Board, Chhattisgarh, spoke about the need for the development of Dweep Samooh. He also stressed the need for the security of the Island.
Maha Mandaleshvar Swami Yateendranand Ji spoke about celebrating 30th December every year as a festival by the inhabitants of Shaheed Swaraj Dweep Samooh to commemorate the declaration of Independence and hoisting of national flag on this day.
FINS will participate every year in three days celebrations from 29th December to 01st January next year. He also suggested the change of name of the dweep to ‘Hanu Dweep’.
He said that the place should be developed as a big tourist spot, while retaining the Bhartiya samskriti. Tourists should be given subsidized air fare. He further said that cellular Jail should be regarded as a temple of ‘Swadheenata’ and ‘Shapath grahan samaroh’ (oath taking ceremony) of Sansad should be held here after elections.
Indresh Kumar, founder of FINS, discussed the issues of security, employment, environment etc. in his address. He spoke about the atrocities committed by the British government on the freedom fighters. He said that the true secularism could be seen in this group of Islands.
There is no discrimination on the basis of cast, creed, color and religion. In a family, the father may be Hindu, mother Muslim, son Christian and daughter Sikh, living harmoniously and amicably.
He exhorted the audience about their lineage and stressed that the inhabitants of the islands are not the sons and daughters of criminals and dacoits, but those of freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives fighting for the freedom of motherland.
At the end of the programme he read out a resolution listing out points, which need to be followed and taken up with the concerned authorities (copy enclosed). He further mentioned that this was the beginning of Shaheed Swaraj Dweep Samooh Yatra, which will be undertaken every year.
On this occasion five senior and reputed citizens of Port Blair, who had served the society diligently and contributed immensely for the development and uplift of the society were honored.
On 31st December, 2013, after a visit to Havelock Island, poojan of Panchtatva along with Varun devta was performed in the evening at Marina Park. A large crowd had gathered to witness the poojan. Sea was calm when the poojan started, but as the poojan progressed, waves became higher and higher and it appeared as if Varun devata was impatient to receive the offerings.
The delegates bade farewell to the year 2013 and welcomed 2014 with lot of fanfare. They enjoyed every moment of the yatra, as it was mission oriented combined with fun and frolic.
Few points about Port Blair need a mention. The local administration is very conscious and strict about the environment. Felling of trees is strictly banned. Job opportunities are very limited. The Jarawa tribe, numbering approximately 422 only, needs to be protected.
Earlier they avoided mixing with the people from outside. Now they have not only shed their inhibition, but are keen to learn and improve their lot. Government needs to reverse its policy of keeping them in isolation and provide them with education and bring them into main stream, while protecting their identity.
Water sports should be developed, which will be a great attraction. The Dweep Samooh has strong potential to be a major tourist centre and commercial hub.