BALLARI: Not many know what happened to Bhatukeshwar Dutt, the man who was tried along with legendary Bhagat Singh, after his arrest. He was sentenced to ‘Kaala Pani,’ but prior to that he was housed in Ballari Central Prison.
The entire world remembers the sacrifice of India’s greatest revolutionary Bhagat Singh. But Bhatukeshwar Dutt, his partner in bombing Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi in April 1929 lived and died an isolated death. The duo, the members of Hindustan Socialists Republic Association, surrendered to the police and later were tried for Lahore Conspiracy case and they were sentenced in this connection. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were handed a death sentence.
Bhatukeshwar Dutt (known as B K Dutt) along with others were shifted to various jails in Madras Presidency. This is the extract that is available in historical records so far.“But the fact is that Dutt, along with Mahaveer Singh and Dr Jaya Prasad, his fellow revolutionaries, who were arrested and imprisoned for waging war against the British Crown and assisting in the assassination of police officer Saunders, were housed in Ballari Central Prison,” says T Govinda Vittal, secretary, Gandhi Bhavan, Ballari, who remembers him as an unsung hero of Independence Day.
According to Vittal, the revolutionaries were housed here for a period of two years. He said Dutt and others inspired freedom movement in Ballari and this led to establishment of the famed Malla Sajjana Vyayamashala, which later became the outpost for freedom movement in this British stronghold.
But tragically, the jail authorities could not find any official records prior to 1940. But they said the revolutionaries were housed here for a brief period, before being shifted to Cellular Jail in Port Blair in Andaman.
However, the only reference to Ballari and Dutt is found in a letter by revolutionary Mahaveer Singh, where he mentions that he along with B K Dutt and Jaya Prasad were in Ballari jail and were taken to an undisclosed location. The letter dated January 23, 1933 gives an insight on how the revolutionaries were transported to their ‘holy land’ (as he refers to cellular jail in his letter).
Singh died in Cellular Jail due to force-feeding the same year in May. He along with 30 others resorted to hunger strike over the treatment meted out to them in the prison. Dutt was the only the survivor who outlived all the revolutionaries. After his release from the jail, he participated in Quit India Movement and was imprisoned. He lived a life of poverty and died in 1965 without any recognition.