Andaman salutes the arrival of first batch of freedom heroes

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Port Blair, Mar 10 (UNI) A solemn function here today marked the arrival of the first batch of nearly 200 freedom fighters to these far-flung Andaman and Nicobar islands, way back on March 10, 1858, when these remote islands were infamously known as Kalapani.

Thousands of islanders, school children, headed by freedom fighters and descendants of the freedom fighter's families marched upto the Chatham Island, where the first batch of freedom fighters had landed exactly 150 years ago.

Chief Secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar Administration Chering Targey laid the foundation stone of a memorial, which the local administration is planning to construct within three months, to mark the historic event.

''This is the time to remember those great heroes and also to retrospect whether we, proud descendants of the freedom fighters, still practise the same values of patriotism and sacrifice,'' the Chief Secretary said while addressing the huge gathering after inaugurating the plaque of the memorial.

''This year is, however, very special as it would mark the completion of 150 years of the arrival of the first batch of freedom fighters in Andamans in the year 1858,'' Assistant Director of the Andaman Sports, Arts and Culture department Rashida Iqbal later told mediapersons.

Earlier, a function was organised by the Andaman Sports, Arts and Culture department at the Memorial of 1857 here at Marina Park, where floral tributes were paid to the heroes of 1857.

Freedom fighters like Mr Pratap Singh, an ex-member of the Indian National Army (INA), who participated in the battles for the country's freedom struggle and also worked as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's driver in Germany, was honoured during the programme.

UNI SKR DPM/src1416

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