|Elevation||213 m (699 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
As of 2001[update] India census, Ajnala had a population of 18,602. Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. Ajnala has an average literacy rate of 68%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 58% of the males and 42% of females literate. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Indian Rebellion of 1857
During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, 282 sepoys of the 26th Native Infantry, who had mutinied at Lahore and subsequently surrendered believing they were going to be given a fair trial, were summarily executed without trial by Frederick Henry Cooper, then-Deputy Commissioner of the district. Cooper was a proud Christian of the "true English stamp and mould". The bodies were dumped into a deep dry well near the police station. The guard who shot the sepoys were made up entirely of Sikhs. In March 2014 the head of a local Sikh gurdwara announced that the remains of those buried had been uncovered in the excavation of a well within the shrine. The excavation work at a well in Ajnala near Amritsar, in which 282 Indian soldiers were thrown into on August 1, 1857, on Saturday threw up the remains of around 100 martyrs. Renowned historian and researcher Surinder Kochhar has started excavation of the Rebel's Grave, popularly known as the ' kaalon ka kuan', where the Indian soldiers were pushed into by British officials. "The digging of the well continued throughout the day and we found mortal remains of around 100 soldiers, including 50 skulls and 40 jaws, teeth, 47 one rupee coins of the East Indian Company, besides golden jewellery and other goods," Kochhar said. He said the excavation work will continue on Sunday to trace remaining mortal remains of 182 human soldiers. The well used as a mass grave has been covered by a 10- feet layer of soil. Hundreds of people gathered at the site when the excavation work was started. There were tears in hundreds of eyes when the committee members found some bones. The crowd gathered around the site got emotional on seeing the mortal remains of the martyrs after 157 years. " The whole of Ajanala was crying today. Remains of soldiers excavated from the well in Ajnala near Amritsar. Nobody thought about these martyrs for 157 years. They deserve all prayers and will be laid to rest as per faith. We will also be informing the government before the cremation," Kochhar said. The August 1, 1857, homicide was perpetrated by Frederick Henry Cooper, the then deputy commissioner of Amritsar, and colonel James George Smith Neill, who was noted for his ruthlessness and indiscriminate killing of Indian rebels and civilians. Frederick Henry Cooper in his book The Crisis in the Punjab: From the 10th of May Until the Fall of Delhi also mentions this incident as " awful tragedy". Around 500 Indian soldiers of Regiment 26 of Bengal Native Infantry had fled the Mia Meer Cantonment of Lahore. While 150 soldiers were gunned down, some were swept away in a swollen river. The British army was able to capture 283 sepoys, who were tied with a rope and were brought to Ajnala. According to Cooper, 282 captured soldiers were thrown into the well. Skeletons of soldiers killed in 1857 exhumed from well Sikh devotees look at a well at the Gurdwara in the village of Ajnala some 28 km from Amritsar on Tuesday, after human skeletons were exhumed from a well in Punjab. The skeletons of several Indian soldiers who revolted against the British in 1857 have been exhumed from a well in Ajnala in Punjab's Amritsar by the historian Surinder Kochhar, with the assistance of local villagers. Until now, 90 skulls, 170 intact jaws, over 5,000 teeth, 26 full skeletons, 70 coins of Re 1 denomination issued by the East India Company, four army medals, GOLDbeads, three gold amulets, six rings, four bangles and a few other belongings have been found. Historian and researcher Surinder Kochhar, who initiated the excavation, believes that these soldiers were a part of the 26th Regiment of the Bengal Native Infantry, who rose up in arms and killed two British officers at Lahore's Mian Meer Cantonment in 1857. They ran away to Ajnala after crossing the river Ravi. Once caught they were killed on the orders of the British. "282 rebel soldiers were incarcerated in a small room by the then deputy commissioner of Amritsar, Frederick Henry Cooper. 237 of these men died from asphyxia or were shot dead. The rest 45 were buried alive with their compatriots. The British named the well 'Kalian Wala Khu' meaning 'black people's well'," said Kochhar. Punjab revenue records of 1857, quoting historical texts, say that the 282 rebels were imprisoned in the local police station and government barracks. Later, many of them were shot dead and dumped into a local well, which was then "ordered to be filled with charcoal and lime and a high mound of earth was raised over it", the records say. Over time, the well disappeared. Kochhar, who had heard stories about the well, wanted the Archaeological Survey of India, as well as the Central and state governments, to excavate the premises of the Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj in Ajnala. Local legend had it that somewhere inside the shrine existed the Kalian Wala Khu. No one believed him. Finally, Kochhar discovered the outer structure of the well right under the spot where the Guru Granth Sahib was installed. The committee decided to construct another gurdwara building before starting the excavation. The excavation started on 28 February. The well has been renamed "Shaheedan Wala Khu" (martyrs' well). Government agencies have swung into action, with the ASI sending a team to inspect the site. The state government plans to construct a memorial at the site after performing the last rites of the soldiers with full state honours. The local administration is also getting DNA testing and carbon dating done of the remains. Historian M. Rajiv Lochan told The Sunday Guardian, "The facts given by Kochhar are right. There are records that talk about this killing. The recovery of the medals, establishes that those who were buried were army men." Kochhar said that he would move court to urge the Union government to seek from the British government the details of the 282 martyrs.
- Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Ajnala
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- Cooper, "Crisis in the Punjab", pp 154-6, cited in The Great Indian Mutiny by Christopher Hubbard, pp 132
- "India to examine claims over '1857 rebel' bodies", BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-26413278, accessed 03/03/2014.