200 years on, details of war heroes unknown

via http://expressbuzz.com/states/tamilnadu/200-years-on-details-of-war-heroes-unknown/187936.html published on July 8, 2010

VELLORE: Even as two centuries have passed after the Vellore Sepoy Mutiny, details of the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting the British at the Vellore Fort still remain unknown. On the other hand, the tombs of the British army officials and even the name of the first British soldier who was killed on that day is still preserved in the cemetery at the Central Church near the fort.

Curator of the Vellore Government Museum, Saravanan, said not only the names, but the exact number of the Indian soldiers and their relatives who were killed in the revolt on July 10, 1806, or in its aftermath is also not available. It is estimated that close to 800 soldiers and more than 2,000 civilians were killed in the revolt that had lasted for about eight hours on that day. Probably the British did not want locals to identify the deceased as war heroes, he said.

Details of the places where the Indian soldiers were buried also remain unknown. A group of historians strongly believe that the bodies of the soldiers were thrown into a large well inside the fort or into the pond in front of Jalagandeswar temple. There is yet another theory that British officials lived inside the fort and always had the habit of burying the dead at a place far away from residential areas. Some think that the soldiers could have been dumped in an old well at the Saithanibeevi Dharga near the fort ground.

M Ramakrishnan, Head of the History Department at the Government Muthurangam Arts and Science College at Vellore, suggested that Archeological Survey of India, Union and State governments and Thiruvalluvar University should establish a joint venture to excavate trial trenches at the possible locations where the soldiers could have been buried.

District Collector C Rajendran, police officials and public would pay their tribute to the revolution heroes at the Sepoy Revolution Memorial at Makkan Junction on July 10 as the day marks the 204th anniversary of the First Sepoy Revolution by the Indian soldiers against the British.

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