Nearly 300 years after 363 people sacrificed their lives while trying to save Khejri trees in Rajasthan, a young farmer from Jodhpur has requested the Prime Minister to grant them the status of martyrs and highlight the movement in school syllabus. Long before the country woke up to the perils of environment damage, 363 members of the Bishnoi community led by Amrita Devi had sacrificed their lives in 1730 AD while protecting Khejri trees, considered sacred by the community. Now, a resident of a Ekalkhori village in Jodhpur, Vishek Vishnoi is leaving no stone unturned to make '363' a global brand in the field of environment protection. "The incident happened in Rajasthan in 1730 AD where 363 people sacrificed their lives by hugging trees. They gave a message of environment protection but political support is immensely needed," Vishnoi told PTI. Seconding him, BJP MLA Jogaram Patel said the incident must be recognised widely. An environment lover, Vishnoi said he has written letters to the President, the Prime Minister and ministers to recognise the sacrifices. "I have requested the Prime Minister to accord the 363 people the status of martyrs and pay homage to them in Parliament besides getting them recognition through the UN.
Their struggle should be highlighted in the school syllabus in the entire country," he said. He also requested the Prime Minister to mention the Khejarli incident in his radio programme Mann ki Baat. "My aim is to make the world aware about the Khejarli incident and the sacrifice of 363 people. I want those 363 people to be recognised globally," he said. Vishnoi's father Ranaram is known for planting thousands of trees in the arid climate of the Western parts of the desert state. "My father has planted thousands of trees in different parts of Jodhpur and other areas. The trees are alive and his tireless efforts gave me the inspiration to work for those who laid down their lives years ago," he said. The village Khejarli is nearly 30 kms from Jodhpur city where an annual fair is held to mark the incident. The Ministry of Environment and Forest gives Amrita Devi Bishnoi Wildlife Protection Award for significant contribution in the field of wildlife protection.
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