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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Despite being considered the second Jallianwala Bagh of India due to the massacre of large number of freedom fighters by the British police, the heart-wrenching tragedy at historical Eram in Bhadrak district never drew national attention.

Eram, also known as the Rakta Teertha (a place of pilgrimage tinged with the blood of the martyrs) is a glorious chapter in Indian freedom movement. The Imperial police had opened fire on a gathering of freedom fighters in this place on September 28, 1942 when they were protesting against the foreign rule peacefully. As many as 29 people fell to the police bullets while 56 more were wounded in one of the worst ever mayhems perpetrated by the Colonial occupationists.

Although 79 years have passed since the genocide took place, Eram, a place that bears the testimony of the sacrifice of the patriots, still lies in utter neglect. Despite the government declaring the place as a tourist destination, the pitiable development works carried out by the administration at the holy site is a mockery of the sacrifice made by the martyrs.

Local residents have expressed their resentment over the apathy of the government towards the historical place.

“Like Jallianwala Bagh, Eram has its’ own special significance in India’s freedom movement. But the government has done nothing to preserve the memory of the sacrifices of our great freedom fighters and martyrs,” lamented Bhagirathy Mohany, a retired lecturer.

Social worker Rajkishore Roy demanded that the government should take steps for social and economical development of the descendants of the martyrs.

“The people of Odisha should be proud of Eram. The government shouldn’t finish its duty by only declaring the place a tourist destination. The place should be developed into a place of historical importance and steps should be taken for the social and economical development of the people living around the place,” said Roy.

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