Jayee Rajguru was the first martyr from Odisha in the freedom struggle: Venkaiah

New Delhi: Jayee Rajguru was the first martyr from Odisha in the freedom struggle and also one of the earliest martyrs in our freedom movement, said Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.

Naidu while addressing the 211th Martyrdom Day of Shaheed Jayee Rajguru, organized by Odisha Forum, in New Delhi on Wednesday said that we should reshape our country to ensure all citizens have essential freedoms enshrined in our constitution.

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President said that Jayee Rajguru made the supreme sacrifice of his life on this day for the independence of this country, sparking a massive 'Paika Vidroh' or war against the British in Odisha and other parts of the country. He further said that Jaya Krushna Mahapatra was the Rajguru of King of Khurda as was popularly known as Jayee Rajguru. The first war of independence had also raised its head in the Khurda kingdom in Odisha and the hero of this earliest war of Indian independence was Jayee Rajguru, he added.

Naidu said that the story of Jayee Rajguru is awe inspiring and demonstrates the heroic patriotism of many of our ancestors who sacrificed their lives for our motherland. He further said that the Khurda Rising of 1804 which Shaheed Rajguru led from the front was truly a people's war. The battle skill, valour and sacrifices of Jayee Rajguru and his followers are still remembered by the people even after 200 years, he added.

'He further said that he was not only a brave warrior but a Great Sanskrit Scholar of his time and was an astute Rajguru. We are proud that such noble individuals have lived in our country and left behind a glorious saga of sacrifice and as a nation we shall be ever grateful to such heroes,' he added.

Meanwhile, days after his cabinet colleague stirred a controversy by questioning freedom fighter status to Jayee Rajguru, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recognized him as first Odia freedom fighter.

On November 23, BJD veteran and agriculture minister Damodar Rout had stated that Rajguru was not a freedom fighter and his fight against the British rule in 1804 was not a freedom struggle. His comment spread like wildfire evoking strong reactions from political rivals and historians.

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