The first coin release function of 2016 saw the release of a coin commemorating 150th Birth Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai. Coins of Rs 150 and Rs 10 were released.
The coin and the details of the set are;
The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma releasing a commemorative coin of Rs 150 and circulation coin of Rs 10, on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Lala Lajpat Rai, in New Delhi on January 28, 2016. The Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Shri Narendra Kumar Sinha is also seen
Lala Lajpat Rai (28 January 1865 – 17 November 1928) was Punjabi author and politician who is remembered as a leader in the Independence movement. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari. He was part of the Lal Bal Pal trio. He was also associated with activities of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company in their early stages. He sustained serious injuries by the police when leading a non-violent protest against the Simon Commission and died less than three weeks later. His death anniversary (17 November) is one of several days celebrated as Martyrs' Day in India.
In 1928, the British government set up the Commission, headed by Sir John Simon, to report on the political situation in India. The Indian political parties boycotted the Commission, because it did not include a single Indian in its membership, and it met with country-wide protests. When the Commission visited Lahore on 30 October 1928, Lajpat Rai led silent march in protest against it. The superintendent of police, James A. Scott, ordered the police to “lathi charge” the protesters and personally assaulted Rai. Despite being injured, Rai subsequently addressed the crowd and said that "I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffin of British rule in India". He did not fully recover from his injuries and died on 17 November 1928 of a heart attack. Although Bhagat Singh did not witness the event, he vowed to take revenge, and joined other revolutionaries, Shivaram Rajguru,Sukhdev Thapar and Chandrashekhar Azad, in a plot to kill Scott. However, in a case of mistaken identity, Bhagat Singh was signalled to shoot on the appearance of John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police. He was shot by Rajguru and Bhagat Singh while leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on 17 December 1928. Chanan Singh, a Head Constable who was chasing them, was fatally injured by Azad's covering fire.
This case of mistaken identity did not stop Bhagat Singh and his fellow-members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association from claiming that retribution had been exacted.