The Rediscovery of the Ajnala Massacre of 1857

  • A recent collaboration of professional geneticists resulted in scientific proof of the Ajnala massacre, which had been lost to history for 165 years.
  • This initiative, defined by emotional intensity and meticulous investigation, used molecular and isotopic data to uncover long-lost victims.

The Ajnala Massacre

  • Buried Tragedy: During the 1857 insurrection, the British East India Company drowned 282 troops of the 26th Native Bengal Infantry Regiment in a well.
  • Cooper’s work revealed information that assisted in the discovery of the 1857 Kallianwala Martyrs’ Well beneath the Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Ajnala.
  • Random Encounter: Surinder Kochhar, a historian, discovered a reference to ‘Ajnala’ in a discarded book titled “Crisis in Punjab” by Frederick Henry Cooper in 2003.
  • Kochhar’s study led to the discovery of the Ajnala Massacre, a heinous crime that had been suppressed for over 157 years.

Excavation and Enlightenment

  • Unveiling the Remains: The well was excavated in 2014, uncovering the soldiers’ skeletal remains.
  • Embarrassing Discover:  Many Indian troops revolted against the British during the 1857 Sepoy mutiny. Around 500 people revolted in Lahore’s Mian Mir Cantonment.
  • They swam across the Ravi River to Ajnala, now in Amritsar district, to avoid punishment. British forces killed 218 of them at Dadian Sofian village near Ajnala.
  • The remaining 282 were crowded into a small chamber, where many perished of asphyxiation. The remainder were shot and their bodies were dumped in a well that was later dubbed “Kalianwala Khu” and “Shaheedan da Khu.”

Verification and Acceptance

  • DNA-based evidence indicated that the remains belonged to soldiers from the 26th Native Bengal Infantry regiment.
  • Importance in History: The Ajnala Massacre contributes to the story of the 1857 Indian rebellion against the persecution of the British East India Company.


  • The Ajnala Massacre highlights the often-overlooked brutalities of the Indian rebellion of 1857.
  • The government’s reluctance to handle painful portions of history can be ascribed to the absence of acknowledgement and memorials.
And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.