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Malegarh awaits preservation

- 1857 battlefield to be included in list of historical sites

Silchar, Dec. 28: Dispur has said Malegarh, a village in Karimganj district along the Indo-Bangladesh border, will soon be included in the list of the historical sites to be preserved by the state archaeology department.

An official source in the Karimganj district administration today said all historical documents that show Malegarh’s importance as an historical site dating back to the First War of Independence in 1857, have been forwarded to the Assam government.

State cultural affairs minister Pranati Phukan recently spoke of Malegarh, which was served as a battlefield during the sepoy mutiny.

Indian troops belonging to 34 Native Infantry Regiment fought a pitched battle with British soldiers on December 18, 1957, at that village near Latu in Karimganj district.

According to a former professor of Bengali literature in Karimganj district, Janmajit Roy, the battle had marked the spread of the mutiny to this part of the country, after it was sparked off in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

Roy, said 26 Indian soldiers died in the fight against the British, who lost five of their troops, including Maj. Bing, who was then the commander of the Surma Valley Light Horse.

Malegarh, the focal point of the skirmish during the mutiny, falls right along the Indo-Bangladesh border.

The BSF and the Bangladesh border guards had agreed to shift the border fence so that the actual site of the battle does not fall inside a no-man’s zone.

Official sources in Karimganj district said some NGOs have mooted a proposal to erect a memorial at the site.

At present, the site has a stone and marble plaque describing the story of the war.

On the 155th anniversary of the battle, a parade and flag-hoisting ceremony was held in which police and soldiers of the 115 Battalion of the BSF took part.

Karimganj deputy commissioner Debeswar Malakar, north Karimganj Congress MLA Kamalakhya Deb Purakayastha, superintendent of district police Pradeep Pujari, and others attended the ceremony.