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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 10:27 GMT
Notorious jail marks 100th year
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Former inmate welcomed to Port Blair
Former inmates return for Friday's ceremony
A ceremony has been held to mark the 100th year of the Cellular Jail on India's Andaman islands, linked to the country's struggle for independence.

Scores of fighters for Indian independence jailed there were paid tribute in a solemn function at Marina Park in the capital Port Blair.

Andaman's lieutenant governor, MM Lakhera, recounted their sacrifices.

The jail is a designated national monument commemorating the struggle against colonial British rule.

'Value of freedom'

A musical event was also organised by the tourist authority of the Andaman and Nicobar islands featuring Indian singers such as Shuba Mudgal recounting India's struggle for independence.

Cellular Jail in Port Blair
The jail housed many of India's independence activists

A special sound-and-light show has been organised to recount the experiences of inmates who fought for India's freedom and suffered in silence.

"All school children in India must be encouraged to visit this jail, so that they understand the value of our freedom," said Bengal's revolutionary fighter Kartick Sarkar, who spent six years in the Cellular Jail.

Mr Sarkar, along with his comrades Bimal Bhowmick and Adhir Nag, are now on the island with their families to take a journey down memory lane.

Mr Bhowmick was imprisoned in the jail in 1937.

More than 70% of the Cellular Jail's inmates were from Bengal, where activists preferred to fight rather than Gandhian non-violence.

They found a hero in Subhas Chandra Bose who travelled to Germany and then Japan to raise the Indian National Army which fought against the Allies in World War II.

Jail inmates often endured brutal torture. Many became paralysed or mentally deranged, some were shot trying to escape, while a few were killed by local tribes people during escape attempts.

Timeline: India
07 Mar 06 |  Country profiles
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