West Punjab Ablaze
Sheikhupura is the district next to Lahore on the Western side. Just three miles out of Lahore, after crossing the River Ravi, one enters the boundary of this district. This district contains Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Sri Guru Nanak Dev, and the huge estate attached to this Gurdwara which before partition yielded a revenue of about twenty lakh rupees annually to the Sikh people. Most of the proprietors of land in this district were Sikhs who had fine lands and had made them rich and productive by lavishing on this land such hard labour as only the Sikh agriculturist appears to be capable of. Besides, the urban Hindu and Sikh population of this district had industrial enterprise and had set up business houses, factories and works. Sikhs and Hindus were, however, in a minority in this district, the population proportions being:-
Sheikhupura Hindus and Sikhs were perhaps, after Rawalpindi and Multan, the worst sufferers at the hands of the Pakistani fanaticism and cold-blooded murderous frenzy. The blow fell on them suddenly and swifly-leaving between 10,000 and 20,000 of them dead in two days. The conspiracy that was hatched in Sheikhupura between the Muslim Leaguers, the Civil Officers, Police and Military for the extermination of Hindus and Sikhs of this town and the district governed by it, is perhaps the worst on human record, showing calculated devilry on such a large scale.
No incidents had occurred in Sheikhupura of any considerable nature, in spite, of all that happened since March, 1947 in Rawalpindi and Multan, Lahore, Amritsar and Gujranwala. This continued up till the day the Award of the Boundary Commission was announced, that is, August 17. Till that day there had been speculations as to which side would the part of Sheikhupura in which Nankana Sahib was situated, would go. Also, some people speculated that the ‘other factors’ clause in the terms of reference of the Boundary Commission might mean for example, Sikh landed interests on the basis of which Sheikhupura or a part of it might be awarded to India. So, during the period of indecision the Muslim League trouble-makers of this district were quiet, and were in a way sitting on the fence.
As soon as the Award of the Boundary Commission was announced and they knew that Sheikhupura had been awarded to Pakistan, the Muslim Leaguers and their allies, the Pakistan Police and Military, feverishly began to perfect and execute their plans for the looting and murdering of Hindus and Sikhs. Attacks on the countryside began as early as the 18th August; and within a week Sikhs and Hindus everywhere in villages, as will be seen from the appendix of incidents at the end, were being driven out en masse. During this time the plan was also made by which Sheikhupura town and other towns in the district were also to be cleared of Hindus and Sikhs.
The conspiracy began on about the 10th of August, when a public meeting of Muslims was called in cattle-fair grounds, ostensibly for the purpose of saying prayers for rains, which had that year been rather scarce. At this meeting, which naturally no non-Muslim could attend, the ‘plan’ for attack on Hindus and Sikhs was explained to the Muslims. Muslims were very reticent about this meeting to their Hindu and Sikh friends and acquaintances. After this meeting, Muslim E. A. C.’s and other officials ceased attending the official club of which they were members. They instead held secret meetings, along with big Police Officers and Karamat Ali, a minister in the West Punjab Government and a resident of Sheikhupura. A confidential list was prepared of all leading Hindus and Sikhs of Sheikhupura, which was accidentally revealed by the Christian stenographer of the Anglo-Indian Deputy Commissioner, Disney. This was the ‘murder list’. Haq Nawaz, Superintendent of Police, transferred from Gurdaspur to Sargodha, incited Muslims while on the way to his new charge, to murder Hindus and Sikhs. The Deputy Commissioner was a willing tool in the hands of the Muslim League plotters, the police and officials, all of whom took their inspiration and guidance from the above-named Karamat Ali, at whose residence daily meetings of these elements were held.
The situation was tense and ominous. All issue of petrol to non-Muslims was stopped. Petrol was dumped for arson. After the 20th August military used to parade the town for four or five days. But there were no incidents. Without valid ground, curfew was imposed on the 24th August. This was the first time Sheikhupura experienced curfew. Here too the curfew operated as everywhere in Pakistan. Muslims were free to move about during curfew hours, to set fire to houses of non-Muslims and to commit murders. Non-Muslim representatives approached the D. C. with the request to lift curfew, as it was being abused. But he did not agree to this request.
Muslims were making brisk preparations for the rioting of the next few days. There was a good deal of coming and going of Muslims at the residence of Karamat Ali, Minister. On the 25th, Hindu and Sikh houses were burned in Gurdwara Bazar. A false alarm was raised of an attack on a Muslim mohalla by Sikhs. All this was done to incite Muslims to fall upon Sikhs. On the 25th also a vigorous attack was made on Ramgarha which had a Sikh population of 1,200. Sikhs were being chased. The Muslim mob was followed by the military. When Sikhs gave a fight the Muslim mob retreated. Then the military took the lead and took up positions against Hindu-Sikh areas at about 2 o’clock (day). By about 5 o’clock the Hindu-Sikh population of this area had been killed, and the houses were in flames. Muslim mobs now swelled and spread out to attack to different parts of the town. Street after street was surrounded by Muslim mobs, military and police. The looting, burning and murdering continued all over the town for more than 24 hours, and stopped only on the evening of the 26th. Some Hindus and Sikhs saved themselves by hiding; others ran out during the night. 3,000 Hindus and Sikhs were killed by the military in Atma Singh’s factory alone. Altogether 15,000 Hindus and Sikhs were killed in this massacre. Pt. Nehru, at the time lie toured the West Punjab with Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, estimated the number of those killed in Sheikhupura at 22,000. Women were molested. Hindus and Sikhs who resisted the molesters were shot dead on the spot. In the Namdhari Gurdwara two wells were filled with the bodies of Hindu and Sikh women who committed suicide to save themselves from dishonour. Two other wells were similarly filled. Swami Nand Singh, a member of the Peace Committee was shot dead by his former Muslim colleagues on this Committee. On the night of the 25th August, the D. C. was present in the Main Bazar when arson, murder and looting was going on. A Section 30 Magistrate, Ahmed Shafi asked Lt.-Col. Dr. Surat Singh to convey his boast to Sikh leaders that Muslims had done in two days what Sikhs might never be able to do to Muslims.
This is in brief the tragic story of Sheikhupura.
The countryside of Sheikhupura, like that of Lahore was combed for Sikhs and Hindus, who were turned out of their houses, and murdered in large numbers. Muslims fell upon Hindus and Sikhs all over the district with a brutality and thoroughness the extent of which it is difficult to imagine, and of which only a vague idea can be given in the brief accounts given below. It is not easy to estimate how many actually succeeded in reaching the river Ravi or crossing it successfully, on their way to India in the first few days after the establishment of Pakistan.
The village of Kot Pindi Das in Shahdara Tehsil was attacked on the 15th August and, was thoroughly burned and pillaged for two days. It appears those who attacked were busy in pocketing loot. So, Hindus and Sikhs managed to escape with their lives in a destitute state.
Bohar, Chak 8 and Chak 702 (all in the Tehsil of Nankana Sahib) were simultaneously attacked on the 21st August with the help of Muslim Military. The refugee train which carried Hindu and Sikh evacuees from these places was stopped near Shahdara, a railway station five miles West of Lahore, and they were stripped of all their possessions.
Nangal Bhuchar was attacked on the 21st August. Hindus and Sikhs were forced to save their lives by fleeing, leaving their entire property behind. While crossing Pattan Bhindian (on Ravi River) they were attacked. They put up a good tight, however, and routed their assailants.
Machhochak in Shahdara Tehsil was attacked on the 22nd. Muslims from 10 surrounding villages fell upon this single village. About 50 Hindus and Sikhs Were killed. The rest left in a destitute state.
Dhanoe was attacked by a Muslim mob, accompanied by Pakistan Military, on the 24th. Hindus and Sikhs fled to seek shelter in Babakwal, a neighbouring village. Their assailants pursued them there. Here a general slaughter ensued in which between 400 and 500 Hindus and Sikhs were killed. A number of women were abducted.
Sikham, situated in the jurisdiction of Muridke Police Station, was attacked on September 1. Here 100 Sikh males were killed and 50 were wounded. 22 women were abducted, while 50 were forcibly converted and married to Muslims.
At Dharanagar lying in the area served by Sharakpur Post Office, 90 Sikhs were killed on the 27th August. Of Chak No. 49, in Shahdara Tehsil which was attacked by 50 Pakistan Militarymen on the 25th August, the entire Sikh population was wiped out.
Aiya Kalan was attacked towards the end of August, also by Pakistan Military. Here the number of Sikhs killed was about 80. Another 30 were killed on the way while evacuating from this village.
Khori and Nangal Dunna Singh (in Gujranwala District) were attacked by beat of drum. When Hindus and Sikhs of these villages were evacuating and crossing Pattan Bhindian (on Ravi River) they were again attacked, and some women were abducted.
In Ratniwala about 30 Sikhs were killed, while another 100 were killed by the police near village Wadhai Chima when they were evacuating for safety to a refugee camp. .
Chak No. 12, also called Gobindpura, was attacked on the 27th August by a force of 2,000. 25 Hindus and Sikhs were killed here.
Hindus and Sikhs of Sadh Nau Abad were forced to quit their homes and were again attacked while crossing the Ravi River, when 40 were killed.
In Awan Labana, on the 25th a big attack was made by a Muslim mob, Muslim police and military. Here 200 Sikhs and Hindus were killed, 200 women and some children were abducted. Looting and burning occurred on an immense scale.
The village of Faridabad (in Nankana Sahib Tehsil) was attacked on the 26th. Only half of the Hindu-Sikh population of this place reached India. The rest were either killed or forcibly converted.
Chak No. 4 Risala, situated within the jurisdiction of War-burton Police Station was besieged for 3 days, from 26th to 28th August. An ultimatum was given to Hindus and Sikhs to embrace Islam or to be prepared to face the consequences. The attacking force had in it 30 men armed with rifles, who marched at the head of a big mob. The Sikhs of this place were many of them ex-military-men, and they put up a very stiff resistance. On the third day all Hindus and Sikhs were forced to quit in a destitute state.
At Shah Kot brutalities were committed. One Sikh’s eyes were gouged out by the Muslim mob. 1,000 Hindus and Sikhs were forcibly converted. Hindus and Sikhs of Sacha Sauda were turned out, stripped of all their possessions.
One of the memorable and heroic battles given by Sikhs took place at Bhuler Chak 119, in the jurisdiction of Sangla Hill Police Station. This large village was attacked on the 30th August. This village is located close to the borders of other districts, notably Gujranwala and Sialkot. All through August Muslims of the neighbouring areas continued to make preparations for attacks on Sikhs, with the active complicity of Muslim officials. After the 15th August, Bhular was the centre where Hindus and Sikhs of a considerable radius around came together for shelter. On the 30th, Muslims sent an ultimatum to the Sikhs of this place to vacate Bhuler, which the Sikhs indignantly rejected. Then Muslim mobs and police attacked from all sides. On the 1st September about 25,000 Muslims had gathered for attack. This mob attack, however, failed to break the morale of the Sikhs. Then armed police and Baluch Military stepped in to help the Muslim mob. Finding that the fight was unequal, Sikhs decided to die fighting, and killed their own womenfolk to save them from dishonour. A fierce and desperate battle ensued after this. Sikhs set fire to their own homes and property. About 200 Sikhs met their death in this engagement. The rest evacuated, fighting.
Sangla Hill is a fairly large and flourishing town in Sheikhupura district. This place was attacked on the 27th August by the Muslim Military, and the attack continued for several days. Here the technique followed was the same as employed by Muslims in most other towns. Curfew was imposed, which confined Hindus and Sikhs to their houses while Muslims went about freely, setting fire with police help to Hindu and Sikh houses, killing and looting. Here operations were directed against Sikhs by Magistrate M. G. Cheema of Lahore notoriety. 300 Sikhs were killed and a large number were shaved forcibly. Stabbing went on with police looking on. Hindus were given a false assurance of safety and ordered on pain of death not to shelter Sikhs. Later, Hindus too were looted and killed. Huge looting went on for days in this prosperous town. Searches took place in a way which outraged the modesty of Hindu and Sikh women.
Other Sheikhupura villages looted and devastated on a large scale, in which men were killed and women abducted are, Kuthiala Virkan, Khanna Labana, Chak 32, Chak 33, Malian Shekhan, Khanpur Kalla, Hariala etc.
Kathiala Virkan, in the jurisdiction of Muridke Police station was attacked on the 19th, when Sikhs began to evacuate. The evacuees were attacked between the villages of Fatehpur and Bhatianwala by Muslims of 20 neighbouring villages. 200 Sikhs were killed, and 250 women were abducted. Out of the original jatha of 5,000 only 1,500 finally reached India, the- rest having been killed on the way in attacks at various points.
Sharakpur is a Municipal town and a Sub-Tehsil of District Sheikhupura. Here leading Muslims had promised safety to Hindus and Sikhs with oath on the Koran. On the 27th August, however, the day after the unprecedentedly large Sheikhupura Massacre, Muslims fell upon Hindus and Sikhs. Muslims armed with rifles and automatic weapons attacked Hindus and Sikhs. Only 71 out of a total Hindu-Sikh population of a thousand escaped being murdered. Women and children were not spared. Jewellery and property worth hundreds of lakhs was looted from Hindus and Sikhs.
This was another installment of the elimination of minorities from Pakistan.
Lyallpur constituted the richest spot the Sikhs possessed in the Punjab. It was purely a Sikh creation, economically speaking. Sikhs had converted by hard toil of generations a sandy waste which this area was, into the granary of the Punjab. The Lyallpur Sikhs were not only one of the most prosperous group among the Sikhs anywhere, but they were also very well-disciplined, independence-loving and had a highly developed social conscience. They had taken a leading part in the movements of education and reform which stirred the Sikh people in the twentieth century. They were a proud, assertive and militant kind of people, who would not easily take a beating from any one. It was of the Lyallpur Sikhs primarily and also of the Sheikhupura Sikhs that the official Pakistan publication said that they left the West Punjab ‘defiantly.’ Yes, the sturdy Sikhs of those areas left the West Punjab thoroughly defiantly, and not abjectly. It was they again, to turn out whom from West Punjab, Governor Mudie made up his mind firmly. In his letter to Governor-General Jinnah, quoted elsewhere, he said:
‘I am telling everyone that I don’t care how the Sikhs cross the border, the great thing is to get rid of them as soon as possible. There is still little sign of the 3 lakh Sikhs in Lyallpur moving, but in the end they too will have to go.’
This letter needs being pondered over carefully to realize the deep-laid Pakistan conspiracy to turn out Sikhs from their hearths and homes in his way: ‘I don’t care how ’
In the town and district of Lyallpur as a whole there had been few incidents of any kind before August, 1947. That was because the Sikhs of Lyallpur were so sturdy, so well-organised and capable of giving to any assailant much more of beating than they got. So, despite their majority in the district, Muslims dared not attack the Sikhs. There had been a few stabbing incidents in Lyallpur, and curfew for a few days but that was all. While in the neighbouring districts of Multan, Sargodha and Jhang there had been trouble on a varyingly large scale, the prestige of the Lyallpur Sikhs kept the Muslims at a respectful distance. Later on it was the Pakistan Military and police which finally decided the Sikhs upon leaving. And then they left, but in the words of the Pakistanis, ‘defiantly’ offering stiff resistance in most places.
So little was the amount of disturbances in Lyallpur up till August and so great the confidence of the Sikhs in being able, despite all that had happened since March 5, 1947 to get on even in Pakistan, that they more or less made up their minds to becoming citizens of Pakistan when Pakistan came into being. One of the two Sikh members elected to go into the Pakistan Constituent Assembly was a resident of Lyallpur, Giani Kartar Singh. The other, Sardar Ujjal Singh, belonged to the neighbouring district of Sargodha.
But so determined was the policy of the Pakistan Government and of the Muslim League in ejecting all non-Muslims and especially Sikhs from Pakistan, that harassment and murder of Sikhs and Hindus began even in quiet Lyallpur, as soon as Pakistan came into being. A few days after the establishment of Pakistan two non-Muslims were stabbed to death in Lyallpur near the Clock Tower, a very central place in the town while a crowded peace-meeting was being addressed by the Deputy Commissioner there on the need for communal peace. This incident and a few others of the kind showed to Hindus and Sikhs which way the wind was blowing for them. By the end of August murder and arson by Muslims had become very common in Lyallpur, and Hindus and Sikhs moved into refugee camps, those at Khalsa College, at the Arya School, and other places. Evacuation from these camps began somewhat later.
The way in which the Pakistan administration functioned is illustrated by such instances as these: One Sikh’s hand was cut off by Muslims with the kirpan snatched from the Sikh. The police put the Sikh under arrest and nothing was done against the Muslims. 12 Sikhs were stabbed during curfew hours, in spite of which being imposed, Muslims roamed about freely, attacking Hindus and Sikhs. One woman was snatched away from a Hindu by Muslim Janglis, while the two were going to the aerodrome to take plane to India.
In the rural areas the attacks began round about the beginning of September. By that time the whole of the West Punjab was in flames, so to speak. Hindus and Sikhs were being attacked everywhere and were largely on the move to India. Lyallpur Sikhs were the last to be attacked and it was the Pakistan Military alone which felt confident of handling them.
The village of Chak 37 is situated close to the Lahore-Shorkot railway line. On the 4th September a refugee train was stopped near this village and Muslim Military attacked it, killing 50 Sikhs. After this butchery, the train was again started.
Jaranwala, a prosperous commercial town, was attacked by a large Muslim mob on the 28th August. While the townfolk (Hindus and Sikhs) put up a good resistance at first, the mob fell upon a hospital where Sikhs who had fled from the Sheikhupura terror of August 25-26th had taken refuge. 57 of these helpless Sikhs were killed and 40 of their womenfolk were abducted.
Attack on Jaranwala continued for ten days or longer. A large number of Hindus and Sikhs, estimated at about 700 were killed in the various refugee camps, such as the Mandi, the school and Turianand Hospital. 700 women were abducted and the number of those wounded was in the vicinity of 1,000. This attack was planned after the joint visit of Pt. Nehru and Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, so that the Indian Prime Minister could be shown a clean record in this part of Pakistan.
From Chak No. 143 in Samundari Tehsil which was attacked by a Muslim mob on the 4th and 5th September, not more than 3 Sikhs were known to have come to India out of its total Sikh population of 700. This fact has its own grim story to reveal.
Kamalia, a large town, was attacked near about August 15. Here Muslim officials becoming active early, got as many as 3,500 Hindus and Sikhs killed and a very large number, especially Hindus, were forcibly converted. Other details like looting etc. are better left to the imagination of the reader.
Balloki Head was the bottleneck at which Hindu-Sikh convoys coming from Montgomery, Lyallpur, Sargodha and Multan etc. had to cross over the River Sutlej into Indian territory. Here these convoys were quite often detained for days together and extensively searched. These ‘searches’ were really predatory attacks in which everything of value was snatched from Hindu 12 and Sikh refugees by Pakistan Military, police and Muslim goondas. From the huge Sikh convoy of 90,000 which reached Balloki Head on or about the 13th September, a group of 4,000 was forcibly detached and diverted towards Bhai Pheru. This group was attacked on the way and out of it hardly 250 survived.
In the beginning of September, Hindus and Sikhs of 8 or 9 villages around Chak 305 (in the jurisdiction of Police Station Chatiana) were forced to quit their homes under threat of shooting. Their arms were taken away from them, and they were kept thirsty for a whole day. Then they were ordered to march. Those in the rear were repeatedly attacked and killed and their womenfolk abducted. After much further ill-treatment they were pushed into a railway train. This train was stopped at mile 5 on the Shorkot Road line and Pakistan Military and police fell upon it. This happened on the 9th September. Out of the 5,000 Hindus and Sikhs in this train, only 6 (six) survived. So thorough was the slaughter of these Hindus and Sikhs.
Hindus and Sikhs while evacuating from Pakistan were subjected to repeated attack, killing and looting. From village after village have come stories confirming this. The Hindu and Sikh inhabitants of several villages collected in Chak 272, which however, was attacked and extensively looted on September 8. The survivors of this attack evacuated from their place of shelter and were again attacked near Salooni Jhal. Here a large number of Hindus and Sikhs were killed and great loot was taken by the invaders. The unhappy survivors’ trials were not yet at an end, for they were once again robbed of their belongings at Balloki Head, in Pakistan, the point at which they had to cross over into India.
The Sikh and Hindu residents of Chak No. 310 and other neighbouring villages in Tehsil Toba Tek Singh had to undergo very gruesome experiences at the hands of Pakistan Military and Muslim National Guards. About the last week of August, Muslim Military began attacks on Sikh bustees. The Muslim Sub-Divisional Officer of this area lulled Sikhs into a false sense of security by repeated oaths on the Koran and promises that Sikhs would not be attacked. Finding conditions growing intolerable, on the 1st September 5,000 Sikhs left the area on foot. Still the S. D. O. promised on the Koran that he would make them entrain from Toba Tek Singh and arrange for their safe evacuation to India. Instead, however, of being taken to Toba Tek Singh, they were taken to Chak No. 95 where they were attacked by Muslim Military and Muslim National Guards. Several women were abducted here. Finally on the 7th September these people were put in a train for India at Toba Tek Singh. This train was attacked by a large Muslim mob and the Muslim National Guards. These attacks were repeated and between Toba Tek Singh and Dabbanwala Railway Stations more than 1,500 Sikhs were killed.
A convoy of Sikhs of Chak 204 and its neighbouring villages was looted by Muslim Police at Balloki Head, the place already mentioned as being the point of junction between India and Pakistan. A portion of this convoy was diverted by the Police to Bhai Pheru, where an attack was made and 220 of the convoy were killed, 250 wounded and 15 women were abducted. Other portions of this convoy were also repeatedly attacked and looted. Near Khudian, which is close to Chhanga Manga, Muslim villagers broke the bund of the canal to obstruct the passages of this convoy and to entrap and slaughter it. The Gurkha Military accompanying the convoy, however, showed praiseworthy firmness. It is said the Gurkha Jemadar was wading in water up till his neck, but made the Muslims to realize that it would go hard with them if they continued to play mischief by letting flow the water of the canal. The threat of reprisals on the part of Indian Military made the Muslims realise that their own safety lay in ending the mischief. So the broken bund was repaired by them and the convoy passed on.
In the Loco Workshops Shed at Lyallpur Railway Station on the 3rd September, 3 Sikhs were killed in an attack. Among those killed was a child.
At Tarakabad Railway crossing, Muslim Military shot dead 60 Sikhs, who were part of a Sikh convoy which was proceeding on its way to evacuate to India. This happened on the 3rd September.
The incidents narrated above are only a very few (so few indeed as to be not more than two percent of all that happened in Lyallpur district). More names of villages attacked and casualties suffered appear in the catalogue of attacks appended towards the end of this book.
The Lyallpur Sikhs, as has been pointed out above, were a resolute disciplined body of men and in these days they were fortunate in being served by a band of selfless and cool-headed leaders, who to shame the devil, decided to co-operate fully with the regulations of the Pakistan Government, which that Government never seriously put into effect. Some of these workers had to their credit the rescue of Muslim women and children trapped in East Punjab.
In some places Sikhs in desperation followed the scorched-earth policy, destroying their own belongings when it became clear that they would in any case be looted by their despoilers, Pakistani Muslims. No wonder the Pakistan pamphlet complained that Sikhs left West Punjab ‘defiantly.’
During the months of September and October, 1947 the roads leading from West Punjab into India revealed one unending, melancholy procession, day after day, of Sikh men, women, children and cattle, all fatigued and hungry, as they trekked into India, some with their few salvaged belongings in carts and others on foot. These begrimed and harassed Sikhs were those driven out of Lyallpur by systematic and designed Pakistan terror.
Many died on the way, especially the young, the old and the sick. The roads were all full of stench at every few yards from dying cattle. It was to this state that Pakistan had reduced the best and most prosperous colonists which India has in recent times known.
The District of Gujranwala lies next to Sheikhupura west of Lahore. The Muslim population of this district was 70.45%, while the Hindu and Sikh population combined was 22.70%. As everywhere in the Punjab, Sikhs and Hindus were enlightened entrepreneurs, good businessmen and organisers, and the Sikhs were very good farmers and owners of rich, fertile land for which they contributed land-revenue many times their population strength.
Nizamabad in Gujranwala District is famous for its cutlery industry. Thousands of parcels of knives from this place have been despatched by the Muslim grinders to different places in the Punjab and outside to replenish the armouries of Muslim League and Muslim National Guards. Very many times the Police of Bombay, Central Provinces, the United Provinces and other provinces have intercepted these parcels in the railway yards, and thus prevented their reaching those who could have used them for murdering the followers of other religions. But while some of these parcels have been confiscated through police vigilance, many times the number so confiscated surely reached their destination.
Wazirabad, a railway junction joining the Lahore-Rawalpindi-Peshawar main line and the Jammu-Sialkot line has earned great notoriety for the attacks made on Hindu-Sikh refugee trains and for the large massacres which took place both in the town and at the station.
Gujranwala itself continued to be disturbed in June and July; and in August, like all other West Punjab towns, it rose to massacre and hound out its Hindu and Sikh population. A peace meeting had to be called in Gujranwala on the 11th July at which Muslim League leaders including Mian Iftikharuddin and the Khan of Mamdot made very glib speeches about the virtue of neighbourliness and communal harmony. But the Muslim audiences knew very well that all Muslim League leaders’ peace appeals, from Mr. Jinnah downwards were meant only to do a formality, to fool the Western world and to lull Hindus and Sikhs into a false sense of security. Behind the scenes these very speech-makers were planning riots and organising and financing arson and murder.
In July stabbing attacks on Hindus and Sikhs occurred frequently. There were also some attacks on Hindu-Sikh areas and arson was attempted. But the Hindus and Sikhs of Gujranwala were a well organised and fearless people, and gave back to the Muslims better than they got. Especially was the Gurdwara attacked, from which Sikhs kept their assailants well at bay.
With the approach of August 15, however the aspect of things began to change. By the end of July when a Muslim Deputy Commissioner arrived to take over charge of the District, the Muslim determination to hound the Hindus and Sikhs out of the own was evident. Officials, police and Muslim League were working in close co-operation to this end. Hindus and Sikhs naturally sensed the imminent danger and tried to leave before loss of life occurred. The Hindu-Sikh exodus became a general flight, for which even enough transport was not available. On the 27th July stabbing of Hindus and Sikhs was going on frequently. In the curfew if the Hindus and Sikhs came out, they were arrested, while Muslims went about armed, freely doing whatever mischief they liked. Stabbing of Hindus and Sikhs went on with the police looking on. Hindus’ and Sikhs’ houses were set on fire; even when the culprits who did this were arrested, the police did not take cognizance of the offence. A secret order was issued by Mehar Ghulam Mohammed, Inspector of Police who went from Amritsar, to the Muslim policemen to kill all non-Muslim policemen. Muslim police constables shot dead at sight any Hindu or Sikh. Between the 11th and 17th August all Hindu and Sikh localities, such as Guru Nanakpural Hakim Rai, Mandi Khajurwali, Brahm Akhara, Chauk Chashma, Sheikhupura Gate area, etc. had been burned. The murder of Hindus and Sikhs occurred on a large scale. One of the most brutal and shocking murders was that of Dr. Tej Bhan’s family. There were 14 members in their family. Dr. Tej Bhan’s house was attacked by Muslim police, but the attack was repulsed. Then Imdad Hussain Shah, Sub-Inspector came with more force. The house was set on fire at which the inmates came out. The men were first shot dead; and then the womenfolk with children in their arms. Only one minor boy and one girl escaped.
Sub-Inspector Hussain Shah, who at Lahore had burned down the vast and prosperous Hindu area inside Shahalmi Gate in collusion with Magistrate M. G. Cheema, now came to Kamoke, a prosperous Hindu-Sikh trading centre a few mites from Gujranwala. He carried on a general massacre of Hindus and Sikhs in Kamoke town and in the Ilaqa.
Asghar Ali Shah, Assistant Sub-Inspector of Naushehra Virkan got all Sikhs within his jurisdiction murdered. He would collect them under pretext of making some enquiry and get them all shot dead.
These were some of the ways in which minorities were being eliminated in Pakistan.
Village Dorhian in the area of Police Station Kila Didar Singh had a purely Sikh population. The inhabitants of this area were murdered wholesale by the police and Muslim National Guards. In Eminabad wholesale murder of Hindus and Sikhs occurred also. At Sohadra, on the 13th August, 60 Hindus and Sikhs were killed. Burji Chanda Singh was attacked repeatedly from the 16th August to the 2nd September and 125 Sikhs got killed.
The town of Gakhar was attacked on the 17th August. Here looting and killing continued for 3 days. 200 Sikhs and Hindus were killed.
Kot Des Raj was attacked on the 15th August. Here the number of Hindus and Sikhs killed was 300; 120 were forcibly converted. In Udhowali, attacked on the 27th, about 60 were killed. Almost the entire Hindu and Sikh population of Maju Chak, numbering 500 was slaughtered.
Village Ramke Chatha was attacked on the 5th September. Here Hindus and Sikhs took the life of their own womenfolk to save them being dishonoured by Muslims. Mandi Sukhoki was attacked on the 3rd September. Sikhs were ferreted out from Hindu homes and killed with brutality.
Dharaunkal was attacked on 19th August. Out of its total Sikh population of 80 only about 20 survived the attack.
A large massacre of Hindus and Sikhs occurred at Dhariwal in the jurisdiction of Kila Didar Singh Police Station. Hindus and Sikhs were evacuating, and were attacked near Lalpur. 1000 were killed.
Great destruction of Hindu-Sikh lives also occurred in the villages falling within the jurisdiction of Wadhon Police Station, which was attacked by Mohd. Azam Magistrate, and the D. S. P.
In Ladhowali Chima a big massacre occurred. 125 Hindus and Sikhs were killed and 50 wounded. 200 women were abducted. The people of village Sagar put up a heroic resistance and most of them died fighting against the Muslim assailants.
In Mari Thakran 76 were killed.
Patlemal, Mirzapur, Thapnala and Mirza Jan suffered great loss of Hindu and Sikh lives.
Muslim goondas were imported from Lahore to attack Lohianwala, a village three miles outside Gujranwala. Here 30 to 40 Sikhs were killed. Looianwala, another village was attacked by the Muslim military which got down from a train which was stopped on purpose, and attacked this village, Sikhs were hounded down and in a brief space of time 100 were killed.
In Wadd 42 Hindus and Sikhs were killed.
Kamoke is an important trading town, a few miles east of Gujranwala. Hindus and Sikhs had set up here flourishing Mills, factories and banks. Here, on the arrival of the Muslim military, on the 16th August, looting and murdering of Hindus and Sikhs started. On the 16th August 100 bags of rice were looted from shops of Hindus and Sikhs and on the next day a whole truck-ful of food looted by Muslims. One woman was shot dead. The general attack began on the 21st, when the police called 50 to 60 Hindus and Sikhs out of their houses and shot them dead. On the 23rd eight rice husking factories, all belonging to Hindus and Sikhs were burned and so were many houses of Hindus and Sikhs. When Hindus and Sikhs, on demand of the Muslim police officers, paid a sum of sixty thousand rupees, this arson and murder stopped temporarily. But soon after, these activities were resumed by Muslims and huge looting occurred which included the Central Bank and wheat in Mandi, which was worth four lakhs of rupees. On the 24th the Gurdwara of Dam Dama Sahib was attacked. The Granthi and several Sikhs inside the Gurdwara were murdered by a Muslim mob of 1,000. Later, another 150 Hindus and Sikhs were killed while sheltering in private houses.
Towards the beginning of September, a Hindu-Sikh refugee train coming from West Punjab was attacked by a Muslim mob, abetted by the police and military, at Kamoke. The refugees in the train had been kept without water for two days. Whatever weapons of defence the refugees had, such as licensed guns, were taken away from them. The mob stabbed and speared the passengers, while the police shot down any one who tried to escape by running away. The Pakistan Military made a show of firing, but their shots were directed towards the sky and not the mob and after a short while they also joined the mob and the police in shooting down the passengers.
Most of the male refugees were butchered or shot dead. The women were sorted. The elderly ones were later butchered, while the younger ones were distributed. Children were murdered by being flung with force on the ground.
Wazirabad which was an important Hindu-Sikh trading centre, became like Raiwind, notorious for the large number of attacks on Hindu and Sikh refugee trains. On the 12th August a train left Amritsar. Its Hindu and Sikh passengers were first attacked at Moghulpura five miles east of Lahore, and almost all of them were murdered. Some few who escaped reached Wazirabad and beyond. On the 13th a general massacre of Hindus and Sikhs occurred at Wazirabad. The Mandi was burned and huge looting took place. The same day general looting of the bazar again occurred and all available Hindus and Sikhs in the bazar were murdered. Trains coming from Wazirabad carrying Hindus and Sikhs fleeing from Muslim terror, were stopped at Nizamabad, a few miles cast, and the Muslim military escort joined Muslim goondas of the mob in murdering Hindu and Sikh passengers. 5 or 6 women were abducted from this train. Altogether about 500 Hindu and Sikhs travelling by this train were killed. The railway track to Jammu, whither Hindu and Sikh refugees were going as the nearest way out, was removed. This train was also attacked, but its escort fortunately was Sikh and thus the Muslim mob were kept at a safe distance from Hindu and Sikh passengers.
The Sikhs of this district like those of the neighbouring district of Lyallpur were colonists mainly from the districts of Central and Eastern Punjab. Many of them were ex-soldiers or their descendants, who had got grants of land from the British Government for war service, since the beginning of the twentieth century. These sturdy colonists cleared the jungles and made of them smiling and prosperous fields. The local Muslims were the Janglis-wild, illiterate folk, whose fanatical passions could easily be roused by the Muslim League leaders of this area, who were big absentee landlords and had neither the enterprise nor the industry and ability of the Sikhs and the Hindus, who brought prosperity to this area.
The population proportion of this district were as follows:-
In Montgomery town trouble started on the 18th August, just the day after the announcement of the Boundary Commission Award. Montgomery, or at least those areas of it which were contiguous to Lahore and faced on to Ferozepore, in which most part of the Sikh land was situated, was one of the ‘dispute’ regions before the Boundary Commission and like Sheikhupura, Lahore and part of Lyallpur, it was expected that this area in justice and fairness would be awarded to India. Men, however, the Boundary Commission’s Award was announced, the Muslim Leaguers, waiting only for a signal, directed their attack on Sikhs and Hindus. On the evening of the 18th August, Sikh and Hindu shops were looted and all Sikhs and Hindus found in the bazars were murdered. The attacked communities shut themselves up in their houses and Gurdwaras and Mandirs. The Mandir was attacked. Hindus and Sikhs, after the first day, gave tough fight, but their valour and courage could not avail them anything against the Pakistan Military, police and officials, who were planning and leading the attacks. Huge loot was collected by Muslims from deserted and burning Hindu and Sikh houses. Sikhs had taken shelter inside the big building of Gurdwara Singh Sabha. Here they resisted attacks for days. Life inside this confinement was extremely hard, as food was scanty, and so was water. Dirt continued to accumulate, but the Sikhs inside bore all such sufferings with stoic courage. Even when Sikhs came out under official permit to carry rations inside the Gurdwara, they were subjected to torture and humiliation. Sikhs and Hindus were fired on and shot at the railway station, where they were waiting for days for being transported to India.
The attack on Montgomery town was the signal for Muslim attack on Sikhs and Hindus all over the district. In village after village, as happened in Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Gujrat or for the matter of that, any of the West Punjab districts, Sikhs were attacked, and fired on by Pakistan Military and police, which invariably directed the operations of the Muslim mobs.
The village of Mirak Shah (Police station Nurshah jurisdiction) was attacked on the 22nd August by a Muslim mob, Muslim National Guards, Police and Military in combination. An ultimatum was issued to Hindus and Sikhs to turn Muslims or to face the consequences. On their refusal to turn Muslims, they were extensively looted. The threatened population took shelter at Tandlianwala, in Lyallpur district, which is at a short distance. Tandlianwala was attacked by Muslims on the 25th August. The Gurdwara, where Hindus and Sikhs had taken shelter, was set on fire. Pakistan Military and Police fired on the Hindus and Sikhs who came out on the roof of the Gurdwara building. About 300 Hindus and Sikhs were killed here. On the 28th August, Wards Nos. 2, 3 and 4 of Tandlianwala, which had Hindu and Sikh populations, were attacked. In this attack, 1,900 Hindus and Sikhs were killed, and 400 women were abducted. The loot from this prosperous Hindu-Sikh commercial centre can only be imagined. The attacking force numbered about 25,000.
Chak 139/9L was attacked on the 1st Bhadon (about the end of August). This village and Chak No. 128/9L, which is in its neighbourhood, were simultaneously attacked. In these two villages Sikhs and Hindus from 27 surrounding villages had collected for shelter. The assailants who had come from the surrounding areas for this ‘holy war’ numbered about 30,000. Sikhs put a very stiff resistance, and held out for days. Casualties were inflicted on both sides. Ultimately Sikhs and Hindus were evacuated to India by the Indian Military.
Sikhs and Hindus from Chaks 65/4R, 65/J.D., 27, 61, 78 etc., finding a peaceful life rendered any longer impossible for them, formed, near about the 23rd August a caravan for travelling to India. No Military accompanied these people. Near Yusufwala railway station these people were attacked by a large crowd which was well armed and was led by Muslim National Guards. 18 Sikhs were killed in this attack. The evacuees were subjected to tremendous looting by Muslim mobs. Near Montgomery town police fired on this caravan. Here vast killing ensued, and 400 women were abducted. Finding the situation hopeless, a number of Sikh women immolated themselves by burning themselves or jumping into wells, to escape dishonour at the hands of Muslims. Some Sikhs took the lives of their own womenfolk. Among those who thus destroyed themselves were children of even eight and ten years of age.
In Hujra Shah Muqim the attack came on the 22nd August and continued for several days. The local Sub-Inspector of Police lulled Hindus and Sikhs into a false sense of security by promising to protect them against attack. However, a day after such assurance, the Muslim mob advanced to attack under cover of the Police and Military. Hindus and Sikhs in panic collected in 3 mohallas for safety. These 3 mohallas were set on fire by the Military. Hindu and Sikh women in these mohallas immolated themselves to escape dishonour. The men fought back, but could do little against the Police and Military. At last word was given to them that they would be safe if they came out of these mohallas. But as soon as they came out, indiscriminate fire was opened on them and 3,100 Hindus and Sikhs were shot dead. When the survivors were at last marched towards India, they were attacked by Muslims at Husainiwala Head in Pakistan. Here several men were killed and 25 women were abducted. Some Hindus were forcibly converted, but later on they were shot dead by Muslims.
An evacuee train carrying Hindus and Sikhs was held up at Montgomery railway station (first week of September) for attack. The pretext was made was that no coal was available for the engine. Hindu and Sikh factory owners, who were awaiting evacuation agreed to give coal out of their stocks for the engine, but as coal shortage was not the real cause of the train being held up, so it was not started. An attack on this train was, however, averted at Montgomery. Later this train was attacked at Raiwind on the 4th September, where already a large number of dead bodies of Sikhs were lying along the railway track. Those of the Sikhs killed in this train were added to those which were already lying there.
Pakpattan, Harappa, Okara, Dipalpur and other places in this district were also attacked, Hindus and Sikhs were killed and their belongings looted. In many places Muslim pirs directed these attacks and characterized them as a holy war waged against infidels, that is Hindus and Sikhs.
Sialkot is a district bordering on Lahore and Amritsar beside Gurdaspur and Gujranwala. Its population proportions were as under: -
which means that its population was divided into communities pretty much as in its neighbouring districts of Gujranwala and Sheikhupura, in both of which such huge carnage occurred among Hindus and Sikhs.
Sialkot did not have much of disturbance to speak of uptill August, 1947. Perhaps the Muslim League elements did not feel so very sure whether the district would be awarded to India or Pakistan. So, awaiting the Boundary Commission’s award they lay low, waiting for their opportunity.
Sikhs were a well-organised and important element in the district of Sialkot, despite their inferiority in numbers. They were mostly sturdy peasant proprietors and there were many ex-soldiers among them. The district had also played an important part in the Akali Movement and in the various Congress struggles. So, there were among the Sikhs and Hindus good leaders, organisers and fighters.
Muslim mischief started on the 12th August, the day after it had started in a big way at Lahore. An attack was made on Mohalla Bhabrian. Police were actively helping the assailants. Sikhs put up a very stiff and heroic resistance, and fought a strongly defensive battle.
Ultimately they were overpowered with the help of the Military. There was not much arson on this day, but quite a number of Hindus and Sikhs were murdered. The exodus of Hindus and Sikhs from Sialkot began after this attack. They took either the Jammu route or the Amritsar route. On the Wazirabad route, which was the third alternative, in those days no Hindu or Sikh was safe. At Wazirabad station, as stated elsewhere, several times massacres of Hindus and Sikhs occurred. On the Amritsar route, huge massacres occurred at Narowal and in its neighbourhood. As witnessed by a police constable, who was an evacuee from the district, he saw round about the 24th and 25th August, more than 500 dead bodies, mostly Sikhs lying outside Narowal. The railway track between Sialkot and Amritsar was strewn with dead bodies, mostly Sikhs. Village after village was attacked and pillaged. Sikhs were especially hunted down. While as a rule no non-Muslim convoy was allowed to pass a Muslim stronghold without being attacked, the main force of such attacks was directed against Sikhs, whom the Pakistan Muslims attacked with especially bitter malice. Earlier on the 17th, many Sikhs and Hindus had been murdered near Narowal when attempting to cross the River Ravi. The town was pillaged with arson and murder. Gurdwara Baoli Sahib in Sialkot was attacked on the 13th August. 20 Sikhs including women and children, who were inside the holy building, were killed or roasted alive in the flames of the burning Gurdwara.
As a matter of fact, on the 13th August, after their tame success of the 12th, Muslims made a full scale attack with the help of the police and the military. A vigorous campaign of arson, looting and murder was initiated, resulting in a large number of Hindu and Sikh houses and shops being burned and many Hindus and Sikhs being killed. The survivors fled to the railway station for safety, where on the 13th they noticed a train load of Hindus’ and Sikhs’ corpses arrive from Wazirabad side, at which station on the same day a huge massacre of Hindus and Sikhs had occurred. The famous Gurdwara of Babe di Ber was burned, so dear to Sikh sentiment as one of the places where Guru Nanak had resided for a considerable time. The inmates of this Gurdwara were shot dead by the police. Other Gurdwaras in the city were similarly attacked and burned.
While Hindu and Sikh refugees were being brought to India, a few days after, their lorries were unaccountably stopped at the Ravi Road in Lahore. A motor cyclist went into the town and brought with him a Muslim mob, which attacked these lorries, killing 40. The entire caravan would have been murdered, but for the timely arrival of Sikh military, who rescued the remainder. The survivors of this tragedy were seen at Amritsar by Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Health Minister of India.
Bhawanipur, in Tehsil Shakargarh, which was formerly part of Gurdaspur District, but since 17-8-1947 the date on which the Award of the Boundary Commission was announced has been included in Sialkot (Pakistan), was the scene of brutality and highly reprehensible and heartless duplicity on the part of Muslims. On the 24th August this. village was attacked by a Muslim mob. Those Hindus and Sikhs who escaped killing, hid in a sugarcane crop to save their lives. Muslims standing outside the field gave promises of safety in the name of Allah to all such as came out. Such of the besieged as were simple enough to believe this promise were killed on the spot as soon as they came out. Only a few women and 3 men were left. These men too were killed later. Many of the young girls were abducted.
Village Badomali was attacked and a large killing done and many women abducted. Below is the statement of Parsini, a 15 year old Hindu abducted girl, rescued by Indian Military. Her statement to the Chief Liaison Officer, East Punjab Government is:-
‘About three months-back our village was raided by Muslims and our street known as Samaj Wali Gali was set on fire and the property was looted. They announced to the Hindu population that they would be given safe passage across the river Ravi towards India if they would go out peacefully. When men, women and children walked out of their houses the Muslim raiders committed atrocities with the women in the open streets and all young girls were taken away and a very large number of men and old women were killed. I was forcibly taken away by one Fazal Din alias Fajja, a tonga driver of Baghbanpura. A very large number of raiders belonged to Baghbanpura. Mst. Piari, who is now present outside and her cousin named Piari were also with me at the time. Two men named Labhu and Allah Rakha were with these two girls and were forcing them to go with them. We all the three girls with three men walked on foot and passed the night at Passianwala at the house of a Muslim whose name I do not remember. The owner of this house was uncle of Allah Rakha who had abducted the senior Piari. Next day we were marched again to Baghbanpura at about 10 in the night. I was taken to the house of Fajja and the other two girls also spent the night at the same place. During the course of the night Labhu, against the wishes of senior Piari, who is present outside, committed rape on her and also relieved her of two gold rings. The next morning both these girls named Piari, were taken away by Allah Rakha and Labhu respectively. After 15 days or so I was forcibly married to one Farid, aged about 25 years, a relation of the said Fazal Din. I was taken to his house where he used me as wife in the face of great protest and resistance put up by me. I was given the name of Khurshid and was forcibly converted.’
Jalalpur Jattan, an important town, was disturbed on and after the 12th August. The Muslims there had planned murder of Hindus and Sikhs in collusion with the District officials. On the 18th burning of Hindu-Sikh houses and the Mandir started on a big scale. Trains were held up; telegraph wires 13 were cut, and every Hindu and Sikh was blockaded. Saving of life by fleeing was rendered impossible. In the village surrounding Jalalpur Jattan, a very large number of Hindus and Sikhs were killed. In this town itself, 400 were killed; only one person out of its Hindu and Sikh population is traced as having survived.
At Thambrewal, in Tehsil Daska, on the 16th August, several Hindus and Sikhs were murdered. About two dozen were forcibly, converted to Islam. These converts were later killed, their leaving of their ancestral creed not having satisfied the power-lust of their conquerors.
The village of Panj Grain Bajwa, in Tehsil Pasrur was attacked on the 26th by a Muslim mob and Pakistan police. Its total Hindu-Sikh population was 300 out of which only 70 or 80 survived. The rest were attacked several times and killed in large numbers on their way to Narowal, whence they intended to evacuate to India. Those who were not killed and were captured, were forcibly converted.
Hindus and Sikhs of Bhikho Chak were attacked by a party of 130 Muslims while they were leaving the village. The attack occurred on the Pattan at Ravi river. 113 of those attacked were killed; there were not more than 17 or 18 survivors.
In this village terrible butchering was done. The force which attacked it was 6,000 strong. Altogether 3,000 Hindus and Sikhs were killed by the Muslim Military with rifle fire. The number of women abducted was 300. The survivors were forcibly converted. Muslims made the attack with drums beating and possessed machine guns and such other weapons.
Of the village Bhoi in Tehsil Daska, very few Sikhs survived. In Melomer on the 29th August, as many as 1,500 Hindus and Sikhs were burnt alive in the places where they had hidden for shelter.
At Dhapai in the jurisdiction of Zaffarwal Police Station 150 Hindus and Sikhs were killed and 50 young girls were abducted.
Jassar is an important town in Sialkot District and a railway junction. A terrible massacre of non-Muslims occurred in this town on the 23rd October, 1947. This incident created great tension in East Punjab. The following telegram was sent by the Commander of J. D. Camp, Amritsar to the East Punjab Government:-
‘No. 3346 ShW. Situation in Amritsar has deteriorated suddenly through information about attack on train load of non-Muslim refugees which occurred at Jassar in Sialkot district, and was proceeding to Dera Baba Nanak (India Border) on foot on 23rd. Though Pakistan press has given out that 30 were killed and 200 wounded rumour in city based on story of survivors and published in local papers is 1,500 killed. About 10,000 non-Muslims collected at noon today near the Muslim refugee camp at Cattle Fair ground for the purpose of attacking camp in retaliation. They have been persuaded to turn back with considerable difficulty. But feeling in city is still high. People are insisting that some action should be taken at highest level and West Punjab Government warned that unless incidents cease on their side, it will be difficult to control people on ours. Curfew has been imposed. Additional military posted at refugee camps Cattle Fair Ground and Jandiala. Muslim refugees train detained at Beas. Arrangements are being made to reinforce Beas. Muslim refugees train will only be passed through if railway track found in order and situation permits. Assistance of local leaders also being harnessed.’
The Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, reported about this incident:-
‘I visited Dera Baba Nanak with Brigade Commander and Superintendent Police yesterday in connection with the attack on the non-Muslim train near Jassar, district Sialkot. It appears all refugees were made to detrain at Jassar. The luggage had to be put aside and then short distance away attacked by armed Muslim mob. Military escort fired into air only and also shot dead three Sikh members of guard because they protested against Muslims failure shoot at mob. Only two thousand reached. Of this number about six hundred were injured; about seventy needing hospitalization. Thirty serious cases have been brought to Gurdaspur or sent to Amritsar hospital and others were being moved. It is not possible yet to give exact number dead or wounded left behind but total feared high as according some reports train carried about five thousand refugees. The property was all looted after systematic searches and a very large number of women have been abducted.’
On November 1, the Governor of West Punjab wirelessed his apologies to the Governor, East Punjab taking care, however, to minimise the number of casualties.
The message was as follows:-
‘Your 381-GPP. The incident at Jassar is deeply regretted by all. Full particulars were furnished immediately after verification by Provincial Government to Prime Minister, East Punjab, Refugees Minister India, Deputy High Commissioner and CLO. Casualties in this incident were 30 refugees killed and 200 wounded; action of the escort resulted in 50 attackers killed; wounded not known but must have been 300 or 400. All possible steps are being taken to prevent such occurrences and this particular case is being vigorously investigated. I.G. Police has appointed an S. P. for special enquiry.’
This border district of the Punjab was comparatively undisturbed during the March riots. A mob of 10,000 attacked the town of Mianwali, but the presence of mind shown by the Deputy Commissioner and the authorities averted the trouble then. On the 28th August in Mianwali Muslim mobs and military killed 250 Hindus and Sikhs inside the Gurdwara, in Sanatan Dharm Mandir and Arya Sumaj Mandir. These places of worship were also attacked.
Later, a massacre of Hindus and Sikhs occurred, in which altogether 3,500 were killed and 1,000 women were abducted. Looting was on a very extensive scale.
After the establishment of Pakistan, however, the process of elimination of Hindus and Sikhs started in this district, as all over West Punjab, in full vigour. In this district, on the 1st September the Deputy Commissioner in an open meeting declared it to be his policy to turn out all Hindus and Sikhs from the district. . A regular time-table for this purpose was fixed, and parwanas were issued to the lower officials. Such an open declaration of policy left no doubt in the minds of the Muslim goonda elements as to their complete immunity from official action which they would have for anything done against Hindus and Sikhs.
A Sikh Captain, P. S. Grewal was shot dead by Muslim National Guards at Pai Khel railway station. No police action followed this murder.
Regular attacks on trains started after this. Hindus and Sikh passengers were combed out of trains, murdered and thrown on the platform, or along the railway track. No one checked these activities.
Non-Muslim railway employees were murdered in large numbers. The Brahman station master of Shah Alam railway station was forcibly converted, and later on shot dead when he refused to swallow beef.
A Sikh railway employee of Doratta was murdered along with his whole family.
At Kundian railway station, as many as 72 Hindu railway employees and passengers were killed.
Kundian, Harnauli, Pipla, Kullur Kot and Bhakhar were attacked in the first week of September. The number of Hindus and Sikhs killed in these various places is:-
|Bhakkar Tehsil Total||6,000|
From Harnauli about 500 women and girls were abducted. The wounded were brought to the Government Hospital at Mianwali. The Muslim civil surgeon told Hindu and Sikh wounded that she would dress their wounds only if they got converted to Islam. Relief workers from among non-Muslims were repeatedly attacked and killed by Muslim mobs under the very nose of Pakistan Military.
In Darya Khan 1,500 Hindus were forcibly converted.
In Isa Khel the Deputy Commissioner got 25 Hindus besieged who were murdered by Muslim mobs. Later 50 Hindus were put under arrest. No Muslim was arrested.
In Sohla Wasti Sikhan of Bhakhar Tehsil, on 5 Sawan (beginning of September) a large number of Hindus and Sikhs were killed. 113 Hindus were forcibly converted and some women were abducted.
A Hindu-Sikh refugee train, which left Mianwali on the 13th October, was repeatedly attacked on the way between Kundian and Wan Bhuchran, at Sargodha and Shahdara. On the wav the refugees suffered acutely for lack of water, which was not given to them. Muslims sold it to Hindus and Sikhs at ten rupees a tumbler.
In Haidarbad Thal Area in Tehsil Bhakar, from the 25th August onwards villages Sadhwala, Manakera, Khin, Main, Dhinana, Wiri, Karloowala etc. were besieged and Hindus and the few Sikhs forced to quit their homes after great sufferings and being subjected to loot.
Wan Bhuchran was attacked on the 4th September. The Hindus approached the authorities for protection and were given assurance of safety. The mob nevertheless attacked the town that very night and arson and looting went on the whole night, A Hindu, who escaped from the besieged town at great risk, informed the district authorities at Mianwali. Military arrived, but did little except driving away the raiders. No loot was returned.
Attacks on Hindus and Sikhs began all over the district of Jhang near about the 24th August. Sikhs and Hindus were harassed, murdered and besieged in every town and village. Gurdwaras were almost everywhere burned, such as at Nanaksar and Chund.
In Mandi Shah Jiwana Sikhs and Hindus were looted on a large scale. In village Chund the Gurdwara where Hindus and Sikhs had collected for shelter was besieged. Ultimatum was given to them by Muslims to embrace Islam or face death. Hindu and Sikh women finding all hope of succour or safety gone, immolated themselves on funeral pyre to escape dishonour at the hands of Muslims. The men fought back the invaders and had 375 out of their total of 450 killed.
Population proportions in Jhang.
This state lies south-west of the Punjab, running along the rivers Sutlej and the extension of the Chenab, and borders on the Province of Sind. It had a minority of Hindu and Sikh population, and is ruled over by a Muslim Nawab. This state acceded to Pakistan.
After the establishment of Pakistan murder, loot and abduction were let loose on the Hindus and Sikhs of this state. Sikhs were almost all colonists, who had, like Sikhs in Lyallpur, Montgomery, Jhang and Multan, made the land productive through their hard labour. They were cut down in every village. The state authorities far from protecting them, only abetted their destruction.
At Bhattian in Rahim Yar Khan district 4000 Sikhs were collected from the surrounding villages with promises of safety by the state police. On the 23rd September, they were attacked. Out of this 4000, only 660 survived. 700 women were abducted. Looting of Sikhs’ property went on everywhere.
Hindus too, who as a class were prosperous, were looted and murdered everywhere. In the capital of the State, all Sikh and Hindu officials (who were not many in the civil list) were put under arrest without any cause.
In a press note the Ministry of States, Government of India, stated on December 3, 1947.
‘The non-Muslim population of Bawalpur state, according to the 1941 census, was 2, 40,000 which, allowing for normal increase. is now estimated at about 2,70,000.’
‘Of these between 70,000 and 80,000 recently had to leave the state as a result of the disturbance, the number left behind being stated to he in the neighbourhood of 70,000. This leaves over 100,000 unaccounted for.’
These 100,000 ‘unaccounted’ for Hindus and Sikhs are the unfortunate ones who were hunted down by the Muslim mobs, Military and Police, and murdered for no other reason except that they were Hindus or Sikhs.
The devastation which occurred in Jhelum district in March, 1947 has been told of earlier. Very few Hindus or Sikhs were left in the countryside. They had either come down east, or had collected in refugee camps. The towns had been comparatively safe up till August. But on the establishment of Pakistan, things began to take an ugly turn for Hindus and Sikhs.
Towards the end of August, all Hindus and Sikhs in Rohtas and Sanghoi were put to death. Some women and girls were also abducted. All this was done with the active planning of Muslim Leaguers and the Police.
The total non-Muslim population of village Mirpur in Pind Dadan Tehsil was murdered, only 2 children having escaped. Vahalee wag razed to the ground, and its population burnt alive.
Hindus and Sikhs at Khewra were attacked, and forced to leave for India, after suffering losses in life.
In Pind Dadan Khan town there was large-scale murder of Hindus and Sikhs.
The refugees trains which left Jhelum district were attacked several times on the way to India and a heavy toll bf Hindu and Sikh lives was taken. One train was attacked on the 19th September between Pind Dadan Khan and Chalisa. Here heavy loss of life occurred. A further attack was made at Harbanspura, where however the timely active intervention of a British officer drove away the assailants. At Lahore, 200 of the wounded were carried out of the train, and most of them were systematically finished.
Another train left on the 24th September. This was attacked at Kamoke, where about a thousand Hindus and Sikhs were killed, and a large number of girls and women were kidnapped.
The town of Jhelum was attacked on the 25th September. Here the planning of the attack was done by the Pakistan Military. In Govindpura Mohalla, the centre of Hindu-Sikh population, about 700 Hindus and Sikhs were shot dead. People were dragged out of their houses and killed. Women were molested and many abducted. No evacuee from Jhelum was allowed to take out more luggage than he could carry on his head. Forty truck loads of Hindu-Sikh property were looted by Muslims from the railway station of Jhelum.
In the month of November, Hindu and Sikh girls brought by Pathan raiders from Kashmir were sold in the bazars of Jhelum.
Multan and Muzaffarga
The happenings of March, 1947 in Multan have been narrated earlier. Whatever Hindus and Sikhs were still left in that district, were mopped up after the establishment of Pakistan.
On the 26th September, a Muslim mob fell upon Makhdumpur Jaura. Here 1,500 Sikhs and Hindus were killed, and 150 women were abducted.
On the same date Rampur, in Kabirwala Tehsil was attacked. This was a Sikh village. All Sikhs to a man were killed here. Children were not spared. The women immolated themselves to escape dishonour at the hands of the Muslim marauders.
In the refugee camp of Mailsi 2,000 Hindus and Sikhs were shot dead in the beginning of October. The assailants were Pakistan Military. Later, at Mailsi railway station, another 200 were shot dead by them. The refugee train which carried the survivors of these attacks was also attacked several times on the way to India.
Chaks 571, 561, 563, 565, 566 etc. in Tehsil Vihari were attacked on the 31st August and the residents, mostly Sikhs, turned out of their hearths and homes in a destitute state. Their foot caravan was attacked several times on the way by Muslim mobs. They were safe from these attacks only when Indian Military got to know of them and escorted them to India.
In Chak 80 in Tehsil Shujabad, on the 11th September, 6 Sikhs were killed. The rest were turned out in a destitute state.
Muzaffargarh is an outlying district to the west of Multan. Here the Muslim proportion in the population was about 87%. Terrible massacres of Hindus and Sikhs occurred in this district, which was dominated by fanatical Muslim Pirs, rabid Muslim Leaguers and big feudal Muslim landlords, who flourished on the ignorance and easy impressionability of the Muslim masses around them.
On a conservative estimate. 10,000 Hindus and Sikhs were killed in this district.
Gurmani, Basti Navin and Patti Bhanwali etc. were places on which attacks started on the 9th September. Here all Sikhs and Hindus were forcibly converted by Muslims. The converted people, even the grown-up ones were circumcized and were forced to partake of beef. They were compelled to marry away their daughters to Muslims.
When these Hindus and Sikhs were later being evacuated to India, their train was attacked by Muslims near Kahna Kachha (Lahore district). The assailants were driven off by the Indian Military escort.
In Basti Sikhanwali, on the 10th September, 800 Sikhs and Hindus were killed.
The Deputy Commissioner of Muzaffargarh sent for Hindu notables, and warned them not to harbour or shelter any Sikhs as the latter had in any, case to be thrown out of Pakistan. This was about the middle of September.
At Kot Adu, on the 10th September, 1,400 people, mostly Sikhs, were killed. In this carnage women and children were not spared.
In Gobindpur, Alipur and Badra false assurances of safety were given to Sikhs. 150 Sikhs of Gobindpur were shut up in a building, which was set oil fire, and all were burnt alive. 20 women were abducted (August 19).
In the Tehsil of Khanewal in Jahanian and Mian Channu areas all Sikh villages were attacked. In Chak 107/15L half a dozen Sikhs were killed. The Gurdwara of Multan Cantonment was besieged. Hindus in Multan were forcibly converted on a large scale.
The district of Gujrat lies between Gujranwala and Jhelum. Although large-scale wiping out of Hindu and Sikh populations had occurred in Rawalpindi and Jhelum districts from March, 1947 onwards, yet the district of Gujrat as a whole had remained more or less quiet. That was perhaps because after the experience of Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Multan and the fear of Hindu-Sikh reprisals in the Eastern districts of the Punjab, the Government had tightened up security measures and large military forces were sent to the Western part of Punjab for keeping order. Anyhow, such steps were taken as kept the Muslim League elements in Gujrat under proper check.
Trouble, however, began immediately after the establishment of Pakistan, when mass murder of Sikhs and Hindus began in Sialkot, Wazirabad, Gujranwala and other parts of central and western Punjab. The district of Gujrat was particularly badly situated from the point of view of Hindus and Sikhs. It had no easy route of escape into Kashmir State, as Sialkot had. Towards the West of it the entire Hindu and Sikh population had been evacuated or murdered in the March riots. So, in towns and villages fanatical, League-directed Muslim mobs, Pakistan Military and Police fell upon Hindus and Sikhs, as usual murdering, burning, raping, looting and abducting.
Lala Musa, which is an important junction on the Delhi-Lahore-Peshawar main line, became the scene of Muslim League operations on the 18th August.
The technique adopted was the raising of a false cry that Sikhs had attacked Muslims. The entire town was blockaded by Muslim mobs from the town and the countryside with the help of Pakistan Police and Military. A vigorous attack was started against Hindus and Sikhs. Looting and arson occurred on a large scale. The loss of life was comparatively less. One of the features of this attack was that three big Gurdwaras in the town were set on fire, and their inmates were burnt alive. Hindu and Sikh women were molested by Pakistan Military. The train which carried Hindu and Sikh refugees from Lala Musa to India was stopped near Shahdara (Lahore) and a number of these refugees were killed.
Attack on the village of Murala, which has a well-known Sikh Gurdwara and is the home of Mahant Prem Singh, M.L.A. started as early as the 14th August, the day on which celebrations were going on in Karachi to receive the Crown of Pakistan for Mr. Jinnah from the British Viceroy. Here Muslims played a confidence trick. They got hold of all the valuable possessions of Sikhs on the pretext of guarding them from being looted. These valuables were, of course, never returned. A number of Sikhs of Village Dhalla were persuaded to come together into one house by Muslims, the reason given for such a step being that this was necessary for their safety. This house was then locked, and the trapped men, women and children left to burn inside the house which was set on fire. All were burnt alive inside. Those who tried to escape were caught hold of, thrown on the burning heap and finished in this way. On the 18th August which was the day of Id, the Dera of Murala, seat of Mahant Prem Singh and held in reverence by Sikhs, was attacked. 400 Sikhs and Hindus had taken shelter inside this Dera. All of them would have been butchered but the intervention of some Muslim notables of the area, personal friends of Mahant Prem Singh, turned back the attacking mob. The besieged, like all other Hindus and Sikhs of the area, went into the Refugee Camp at Gujrat in a destitute state. The station master of Kharian and 5 Sikhs were killed at Kharian railway station. Some Sikhs were also killed in the village of Loharian.
Jokalian and Mitha Chak and other places in this area began to be attacked on the 18th August. Muslims of this area had given assurance of safety on the oath of the Koran to their Hindu and Sikh neighbours. On the 18th August, however, the well-known technique of raising a false alarm of attack by Sikhs on Muslims was employed and the Muslims of the area were incited to attack Sikhs. Stabbing of individuals and harassment continued for some time.
On the 3rd September Muslims from about 60 surrounding villages gathered at Jokalian for attack. The number of this mob was about 20,000. The Gurdwara of the place, where Sikhs had collected for shelter, was attacked, and in one hour 800 Sikhs including women and children, were killed. Later almost the entire remaining Sikh population was killed also. The volume of Guru Granth Sahib was tom and desecrated. Looting continued for 3 days.
After Jokalian, the Hindus and Sikhs of Mitha Chak were given the ultimatum either to embrace Islam or to face death.
People of some forty villages were forcibly converted. (A list of these villages is included in the appendix containing summary of attacks).
The Hindus of village Ghanian were threatened by Muslims with dire consequences if they made common cause with the Sikhs. This left the Sikhs altogether friendless, as their number was already very small (about a dozen in all). Finding the situation grown desperate, these brave and unbending Sikhs killed their womenfolk with their own hands. After this the men gathered in a house, set fire to it and perished in the flames. The Muslims after the Sikhs had been finished, fell upon the Hindus who had so unwisely put trust in their promises, killed several and abducted sonic young women. These incidents occurred round about the 21st August.
Bharowal was attacked on the 17th August. Here a general massacre of Hindus and Sikhs occurred. Out of a total Hindu-Sikh population of 1,200 only 123 survived. Looting took place after this massacre on a very large scale.
Mandi Bahauddin is an important trading centre of Gujrat district. Here Muslim military came into operation early. Sikhs were taken out of their houses, bayoneted and otherwise tortured and forced to embrace Islam. The refugee camp established here was run on barbarous lines by the Muslim officials, and no torture and indignity was spared to the Sikhs. Piteous appeals for removal from this camp to India continued to come from Sikhs to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the East Punjab Government and the Government of India.
At Dinga, a fairly large town, 3,300 Sikhs were killed.
In villages Shadiwal Kalan and Shadiwal Khurd, while Hindus were forced to accept Islam, all Sikhs were killed. These occurrences took place on the 18th and 19th August.
The Sikhs of Mangat, an important village were attacked on the 5th September. They gave a very stiff fight to the invaders and were later all evacuated to Mandi Bahauddin Refugee Camp, from where they were evacuated to India.
Hindu-Sikh refugees from Gujrat district, numbering 2,000 were being evacuated to India in trucks. Obstruction was placed in the way of these trucks near Kunjah bridge. The Indian Military escort accompanying these trucks fired on the Muslim assailants, cleared the point of obstruction and dispersed them (September 9). Later, these trucks were again attacked in the Mozang area of Lahore.
In Kotla Kasim Khan, on the 27th August a Muslim mob of 4,000 attacked Hindus and Sikhs. Many houses were burnt, 70 Hindus and Sikhs were killed and 30 were wounded. Even women and children were not spared, and were ruthlessly cut to pieces.
Kunjah, in Tehsil Phalia, was attacked towards the end of August. Here a large number of forcible conversions took place. Hindu and Sikh houses were forcibly occupied by Muslims. The Gurdwaras and their inmates were burned in flames. Not a single Sikh of this place was left alive.
In this district attacks on Hindus and Sikhs began in March, 1947. On the 26th March news came of serious and widespread attacks on Hindus and Sikhs in various places in this district. These attacks were not yet on the scale on which they occurred in Rawalpindi, but they still were serious. Earlier on the 11th March, Muslims attacked Mansehra but were dispersed.
On the 14th March attacks on Hindus and Sikhs and Hindu and Sikh shops were made in Khushab. Three Hindu Sadhus were murdered.
Trouble in the district continued, so that according to a news-item of the 11th July, the Muslims of Khushab were fined Rs. 50,000 for their continued attacks on Hindus and Sikhs. Many villages in this area were collectively fined for the same offence-the fines ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 3,000.
After July, for some days there was a comparative lull in this district. On the establishment of Pakistan, however, on the 16th August attacks on Hindus and Sikhs began again with full vigour. Trains running between Malakwal and Shorkot and Malakwal and Bhera were attacked and Hindu and Sikh passengers were looted and murdered. In the villages ultimatums were given to Hindus and Sikhs to embrace Islam or die. And in many cases the threat to kill was carried out on refusal to get converted. Even the converted were in many cases killed. Those who were not killed obstructions were placed in their way to be evacuated to India when Indian Military came to evacuate them. 325 such forcibly converted persons were found in Bandial alone.
In Bhalwal Tehsil, Bhera witnessed several stray murders of Hindus. In Lillani 10 Hindus were killed. 150 Hindus of Gondpur were murdered by order of a Sub-Inspector of Police, whose party looted all their belongings.
In Miani, which was attacked on the 10th September, 600 Hindus and Sikhs were murdered and 36 women were abducted. The estimated value of property looted is 50 lakhs.
From August 28 on up till about 10 days, Padhrar, Warcha, Jabbi, Khohri, Mitha Tiwana, Addi Kot, Girot, Mirpur and Thatta Shah Jamal were attacked. Hindus and Sikhs were killed in fairly large numbers and their belongings taken away. In several places young girls and women were abducted. In Mitha Tiwana 59 men were murdered and 17 girls were taken away.
Hindu and Sikh evacuees were not permitted to carry more than Rs. 15 each plus a few scanty belongings, such as the bedding of the season and a tumbler. No clothes other than they were wearing were permitted to be carried by them.
In Shahpur and Sargodha Tehsils incidents of murder and loot on varying scales occurred in almost all towns and villages.
A large number of those who were forcibly converted were compelled to marry away their daughters to Muslims, so that the girls so married and their families may not evacuate to India.
Residents of Chaks 45, 46, 19, 20, 26, 15, 37, 42, 44, 30, 36 etc., mostly Sikhs, were forced to quit their homes in a destitute state and they sought shelter in the Gujrat relief camp. The number of evacuees from these Chaks was about 9,000. Their evacuation was complete by the first week of September.
On the 27th August in Bhera several Hindu and Sikh shopkeepers were stabbed. Stabbing of Hindus and Sikhs continued for several days by moving parties of Muslim goondas. The Malakwal Hindus and Sikhs there forced to quit their homes after several cases of killing.
In Chaks 38B and 29 (both in Sargodha Tehsil) a large number of Sikhs were killed by the Muslim Military.
In Khiyali on the 16th August, a large number of Hindus and Sikhs were killed.
50,000 Sikh refugees from Sargodha were attacked at Tarakabad railway crossing in Lyallpur, with the active instigation of the Muslim Military escort. Many Sikhs were killed although they put up good resistance against their assailants.