KATHMANDU, JANUARY 23

Martyrs’ Week celebrations have started from today in commemoration of all the known and unknown martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the welfare of the people and the country.

The main celebration committee formed by Kathmandu Metropolitan City today formally started the Martyrs’ Week by organising a programme to pay homage to one of the four martyrs — Shukra Raj Shastri.

Every year, Magh 10 to Magh 16 of the Nepali month, is celebrated as martyrs week. The week-long programme ends with celebration of martyrs’ day on Magh 16.

The martyrs’ week, however, primarily marks celebration in honour of the four freedom fighters — Sukra Raj Shastri, Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Ganga Lal Shrestha and Dashrath Chand — who were given capital punishment by the then autocratic Rana Regime in the Nepali month of Magh in 1941. They had waged revolt against the autocratic rulers to establish democracy in the country.

Today’s programme was organised under the khari tree at Teku where martyr Shastri was hanged to death 80 years ago. Speaking at the programme, KMC Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya said that all the freedom and prosperity today were due to the sacrifice made by the great martyrs decades ago.

“The autocratic rulers had offered them riches and money beyond expectation at that time, but, they preferred to look beyond their personnel interest and happily sacrificed their lives for the sake of people. We will always be indebted to our great martyrs,” Shakya said.

He further added that KMC would do its best to commemorate their sacrifice.

The KMC had last year erected a life-size statue of Shastri at the same place.

Shastri was born in January 1894 in Banaras, India, where he had witnessed Indian freedom fighters’ revolt against the then British rulers.

Inspired by the Indian freedom fighters, Shastri had started people’s movement forming human rights committee at Ason in Kathmandu in 1930. Shastri, who was also a Sanskrit scholar, had used religious programmes to spread awareness against the Rana Regime.

Shastri, along with three other martyrs, were given capital punishment on 20 January 1941 by a bench led by former king Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah and prime minister Juddha Shumsher.

All of them were executed within a week. Mathema was hanged at Sifal on January 26, while two other martyrs Ganga Lal Shrestha and Dasharath Chand were shot dead on the Bishnumati River banks at Shova Bhagawati on January 28.

On the concluding day, January 29, a rally along with martyr’s images will be organised, in which hundreds of students will also participate.

Similarly, a group of Nepal Police and Armed Police Force personnel will pay their respects with marchpast from Shanti Batika to Martyrs Garden, Lainchaur.

The programme will be attended by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, ministers, high-level government officials and people’s representatives.