September 30, 2012
The Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) welcomes the decision of the District Coordination Officer, Noorul Amin Mengal, to rename ShadmanChowk as Bhagat Singh Chowk. This is a victory for the people of all religions, and activists who had been rallying for this cause since long. IPSS wrote a letter to the Punjab Government in 2001 asking that the memory and legend of Bhagat Singh be honored and the place where he was hanged (ShadmanChowk) be named after him. Subsequently, this request was taken up with Punjab parliamentarians who tabled it in the Punjab Assembly once and then again on April 13, 2012.
We congratulate all those whose tireless efforts made this victory possible. This decision will help establish that Pakistan belongs not only to the Muslims but equally to its Sikh, Hindu, Christian and other citizens. Our heroes crossed religious and sectarian boundaries to fight the forces of oppression and to gain independence from colonialism.
On the occasion of Bhagat Singh’s 105th birthday celebration on September 28, his family members, scholars, academics and poets from India were invited to participate, but were unfortunately denied visas. Our hope is that visas are now granted for the stone-laying ceremony to be held at Bhagat Singh Chowk in the near future.
We request the City District Government of Lahore to implement this order immediately. We further request that the Bradley Hall School that Bhagat Singh frequented as a student should be converted into a museum named after the martyr. IPSS plans to place a statue of Bhagat Singh with a plaque displaying his poetry and biography at the newly named Bhagat Singh Chowk.