Statement of Shrimati Laj Wanti, widow of Shri Manak Chand Age 23 years, caste Khatri, resident of Nurpur Sethi, District Jhelum, to the Chief Liaison Officer, Lahore.
My husband Shri Manak Chand was employed in the Workshop of Alkali Chemical Corporation of India, Limited at, Khewra. We were living in the quarters attached to the Company. Towards the end of Bhadon (August 1947) a Muslim mob attacked Khewra and a large number of houses were burnt. The Manager of the Alkali Chemical Corporation of India, Limited being a European, the premises of the Company were not attacked and employees and quarters in which they were living were saved. The Manager, however, asked all Hindu employees to get ready for evacuation.
Accordingly, on the 6th of Asuj (beginning of September, 1947) the Hindu employees left Khewra by trucks. 6 trucks were loaded. I, my husband, my son 1½ years old, my uncle Ganda Mal, his wife Karma Wali and their small daughter 1½ years old were all in one truck. We left Khewra at about 4 p.m. and reached Pind Dadan Khan at about 4.30 p.m. We found a large number of non-Muslims collected at the railway station. It was said that the train was to leave Pind Dadan Khan and would be the last train for the refugees to leave Pakistan.
Approximately 5,000 people had collected to go in the train. Out of them between 6 to 7 hundred were women. The train left Pind Dadan Khan at 10 p.m. on 7th of Asuj.
Fifteen men of the Pakistan army were with the train as guards. We were given railway tickets for Ferozepur and Rs. 3/8/- were charged per passenger.
It was said that the train would go straight to Ferozepur.
The train reached Kamoke railway station at about 8 p.m. on the 7th Asuj. In the way no water was supplied to the passengers. Even where the train stopped water was not given, as it was said that the passengers were all Hindus. No other provisions were also allowed to be purchased by the passengers for the same reason.
The train stopped at Kamoke railway station for the whole of the night. At about 8 a.m. on the 8th of Asuj Wednesday the Police came to the railway station and started searching the train. Each and every article of the passengers was searched; even the persons of the women were searched. The search continued for about two hours. 97 guns and rifles were taken away, although all of them were licensed weapons and the licences were with the owners. Even pen-knives were taken away from the passengers. All passengers were told that the guns and rifles would be returned as soon as the train would start. After the search the passengers were asked to get into the train and their luggage into it.
When everybody had got into the train and as the engine was whistling to indicate that the train was going to start, a huge crowd of Muslims came from the side of the Mandi and factories. They were armed with rifles, chhuras, axes, barchas and other lethal weapons. They were shouting “Ya Ali” and came running. They entered the compartments of the train and started butchering male passengers. The police force including the Sub-Inspector and Assistant Sub-Inspector were present at the platform and they also joined in shooting down the passengers who tried to come out of the train. The Pakistan Military made a show of firing, but their fire was 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.
Those of the passengers who tried to run towards the platform out of the compartments were shot dead by the police and the military and those who went out of the compartments towards the maidan were butchered by the Muslim mob. In this way most of the passengers were either butchered or shot dead. A few who were taken as dead after having been injured were later rescued.
The women-folk were not butchered, but taken out and sorted. The elderly women were later butchered while the younger ones were distributed.
I saw an old woman who cried for water being caught hold of by her feet by a Muslim and flung twice on the ground and killed. The children were also similarly murdered. All the valuables on the persons of the women were removed and taken away by the mob.
Even clothes were torn in the effort to remove valuables. My son was also snatched away in spite of my protests. I cannot say who took him away. I was taken by one Abdul Ghani to his house. He was a tonga driver. I was kept in the house for over a month and badly used. I went to other houses to look after my son. I saw a large number of children but I was unable to find my son. During these visits I also saw a large number of Hindu women in the houses of the Muslim inhabitants of Kamoke. All of them complained that they were being very badly used by their abductors.
After about a month it was announced by beat of drum that the Hindu Military had arrived and those of the inhabitants who had Hindu women and children in their possession should produce them at the police station. On this account, I and many other women (about 150) were produced at the police station. During the period of a month, that I stayed in the house of Abdul Ghani the members of his family and he always said that there was no food in India, the relations of all Hindu women had been killed and no one was prepared to have them back into their homes and that even Mahatma Gandhi said that there was no food in India and therefore, no women or men who had been kept in Pakistan should return to India. We were also told that all the girls who would go to India would be made to stand in line and shot dead by the Indian Military because they were not fit for being returned to Hindu society and Hindu society was not prepared to take them back. Such propaganda was made in every Muslim house and all the women whom I met told me of it as I went from house to house in search of my son. One Muslim Mirassi named Barkat Ali who had also taken a young Hindu girl was boasting that he had with his own hands killed 50 men with his dagger and had been rewarded by the Sub-Inspector of Police, Kamoke, for his valour. We were also told that we must state before the police and other authorities that we were not willing to return to India. The 150 women who were produced at the station, Kamoke, were taken in tongas to Gujranwala. Out of the women collected only 20 got up and said that they wanted to return to India. I was one of them. There were 10 children with these women. The remaining lot was put into the trucks and sent back to Kamoke by the Sub-Inspector of Police. We were then taken to the Hindu refugee camp and put into trucks which brought us to Amritsar.
My uncle, my aunt and my husband were all killed at Kamoke railway station. I have not yet been able to trace my son and the daughter of my uncle and aunt must have also been similarly killed.
Note: Other statements on the Kamoke Massacre appear later in the Appendix.
THE PARACHINAR MASSACRES
Report made by the Chief Liaison Officer, Lahore to the Government of West Punjab about Parachinar Massacres.
On the 25th January I was informed that a train was likely to come on the 27th or 28th from Kohat carrying refugees from Parachinar. I was also approached about making arrangements for the feeding of passengers on the train by the Muslim League workers of Lahore. What they wanted was that the food should be cooked at the D. A. V. College Refugee Camp, Lahore as they were unable to arrange Hindu cooks. I agreed to get the food prepared. We were told that 1,000 passengers were likely to come. Arrangements were made accordingly. The train arrived at Harbanspura railway station at about 8-30 p.m. S. Sampuran Singh, Deputy High Commissioner, myself and 5 district Liaison Officers including the Refugee Officer, D. A. V. College refugee camp met the train. Instead of 1,000 it carried 1,556 passengers. We were surprised to find that between 56 to 60 of them were wounded. Some of them were crying with pain. They said they had not received any food for the last two days and had received only partial medical aid in the way. The more serious of the wounded had been detained at Kohat. What I gathered from the passengers in the train was that the refugee camp at Parachinar was attacked on the 23rd instant. About 500 were killed outright. About 300 were distributed food that we had brought, but some people could not he given anything while others received an average meal. The train was stopped only for one hour as it was represented that there was not sufficient water in the engine and there were no arrangements at Harbanspura railway station to put more water into the engine.
We were told by the refugees that all property with them had been looted. There was, therefore, no luggage in the whole train. The wounded whom we saw were wearing blood-stained clothes which were mostly tom on account of wounds and cuts inflicted on their persons. They had no blankets or quilts.
As it is likely that the news of the attack at Parachinar and the sight of the wounded persons and the stories that the refugees in the train might relate may cause commotion in the East Punjab, I am trying to contact the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, and yourself on the telephone. I am also asking the Deputy Commissioner to make arrangements for feeding etc., of the passengers and medical aid for the wounded.
MASSACRE AT GUJRAT (11.1.’48)
(Report by the Chief Liaison Officer to the East Punjab Government)
(1) The selected route was Mari Indus to Lyallpur to Lahore to Amritsar and to Kurukshetra. The train was scheduled to leave on the 10th. Actual time of departure not known. It contained 2,500 to 3,000 refugees. At Khushab it was diverted towards Gujrat. No reasons for this diversion are known. Gujrat did not fall in the way of the train as originally scheduled. The train reached Gujrat at 19-50 hours on the 11th. On arrival at Gujrat the engine of the train left and in spite of all the efforts on the part of the escort Commander, no engine could be found to move the train.
(2) The escort consisted of one escort Commander, 2 V.C.O’s and 58 other ranks (2nd Bihar)
(3) At 0200 hours on the urgent demand of water by the refugees two men from the escort went out on the platform to fetch water. Pathans who were on the platform snatched their rifles. Firing was started by the Pathans and it went on till 0730 hours. Refugees remained in the train while the exchange of firing went on. It was when the ammunition with escort was finished that the Pathans got the upper hand and killing and loot of refugees was started. Only one V. C. O. (seriously wounded) out of the whole escort reached Gujranwala.
(4) Total casualties were about 1,600 killed and wounded and about 400 abducted. While the Pathans gave more attention to looting and abduction, the Pakistan Military are reported to have done most of the killing of the refugees and even put to death those who were wounded.
(5) Refugees started reaching Gujranwala at 5-30 p.m. on the 12th. Military trucks for their transport were provided by the Pakistan authorities. By the night of the 12th, 700 refugees had reached Gujranwala. Out of these about 120 were wounded. Most of these had sustained bullet injuries and many had also serious hatchet wounds on their heads and other vital parts of the body. Practically all the refugees were found to be in tattered clothes. Even their coats, turbans and pullovers had been removed by the Pathans. The few tattered clothes of these who were wounded were soiled with blood.
(6) Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Mian Iftikhar-ud-din, Colonel Malik, Inspector General of Civil Hospitals and Khan Qurban Ali Khan, Inspector-General of Police and others reached Gujranwala at about 10 a.m. on the 12th. They attended to wounded who were put into the hospital and given quilts. Quilts were also given to other refugees in the camp.
(7) 400 refugees are reported to have been collected in Gujrat.
(8) Miss Mridulla Sarabhai and Col. Randhir Singh, Commander M. E. O. (I) reached Gujranwala at 10 a.m. on the 13th. The wounded could not, however, be removed to Lahore the whole day. Seven of them died on the 12th and 4 on the 13th. Blankets and food was rushed to Gujranwala from Lahore.
Statement of Mr. Ram Nath, Advocate, High Court, formerly of the Sheikhupura Bar.
The Sheikhupura Massacre
A communal riot had never taken place in the history of Sheikhupura. It was considered a non-Muslim stronghold. The town had a majority of non-Muslims. In the District the Muslims were 68%, Sikhs 20% and Hindus 12% according to the last census figures. But the Sikhs were the most important and formidable community in the District. They considered this district as their stronghold. The most important Sikh shrines of Nankana Sahib and Sacha Sauda were located in the District.
In these circumstances, even after the announcement of the Mountbatten Plan of the partition of India, Hindus and Sikhs did not evacuate that district. Rather, Hindus and Sikhs not only from Rawalpindi Division, but from the neighbouring districts of Gujranwala, thought it safer to come here. The tehsil and town of Sheikhupura were considered safe centres for non-Muslims.
Muslims officials and non-officials declared solemnly before and after the 15th August they would protect with their lives the life, honour and property of the non-Muslims.
On the 15th August this district of Sheikhupura had assumed an added importance. One of its citizens-a lawyer of the place, Sheikh Karamat Ali, rank communalist and a member of the Muslim League High Command-became a Minister of the West Punjab Government. He had his local enmities with the non-Muslims of the town, who opposed him in civic affairs and had dared defy him on several occasions.
The partition of the Punjab and the option exercised by the officers had removed every non-Muslim official. All the Magistrates were Muslims, the Police was also throughout Muslim. And above all, the contingent of the Boundary Force stationed at Sheikhupura was purely Muslim.
The Deputy Commissioner of the District was a weak-kneed, ease-loving Anglo-Indian.
He could be easily made a convenient tool, who while having no powers could be made to take up responsibility. It was under these circumstances that a temptation to sack the town of Sheikhupura could not he resisted.
On the evening of the 24th August, 1947 for the first time in the history of Sheikhupura a curfew order was imposed by the District Magistrate. At dead of night a house was set on fire. The Muslim Military watched as to who came to put off the fire, so that he might be shot down. Only two men could be shot by them in this way.
The night passed in harassment. Next day on she 26th August at 2 p.m. again without any cause, curfew was imposed. The petrol pump-wallas were summoned. They were ordered forthwith to give all the petrol as emergency had arisen. The whole of the day of the 23rd and 24th Muslim shopkeepers in the vicinity of Hindu and Sikh shopkeepers had been removing their merchandise to safer places.
Under Section 144 no vehicle could enter or go out of Sheikhupura without a permit.
With the imposition of the curfew, the Magistrate (Qazi Ahmad Shafi) leading the Military started from one - end of Sheikhupura known as Akalgarh and began to march through the whole of old Sheikhupura abadi. Their work was very systematic and done with military precision. They systematically killed all men and old women, abducted young girls. A second party followed looting the property and setting fire to the houses of non-Muslims. Some Hindus and Sikhs strangled their girls and threw them into wells to save them from dishonour.
In one of the places called the New Ihatas all the Hindus and Sikhs were gathered, women-folk in one line and men in the other. Before the very eyes of the parents, brothers and husbands, the young girls began to be selected. When one of the young men objected, the whole lot of the men standing there was shot.
The worst killing took place in one of the Sikh rice factories of Sheikhupura. People were told that firing was now over and that they should go into the refugee camp situated in that factory. They went there each with a suit-case and a bedding containing their most valuable belongings. The same occurrence was repeated at that place. Men and women were made to stand in separate lines. Women were selected after being subjected to most insulting examination and men shot down in large numbers. Bren guns and sten guns were used for this mass murder.
At another place, people were told that they could escape, if they deposited a sum of Rs. 50,000. But the two men who collected the amount and went to hand it over to the authorities never returned. The money was taken away and they were shot.
In one of the Mohallas known as Guru Nanakpura, one pucca-built concrete house of a famous Hindu which could not be broken open was bombed.
History will not ever find on record a worse case of Genocide than this.
This went on till 4 p.m. on the 26th August. About 10,000 men had been shot. Truck loads of girls had been removed. At about 4 p.m. that day some leaders like Diwan Chaman Lal and Sardar Bhupinder Singh Man came accompanied by Mr. Qurban Ali, the Inspector-General of Police, West Punjab. They had a clue from two or three persons who managed to escape in an escorted bank lorry on the morning of the 25th. And this orgy of bloodshed was thus stopped. Out of 15,000 non-Muslims, some, about 1,500 were later gathered in the refugee camp. Some days after, when the Deputy Commissioner visited the camp, one of the Hindus well-known to him dared to ask if he could stay in Pakistan. The reply of the Deputy Commissioner was, categorically “No”. He further said, “It is the policy of the Pakistan Government not to let any non-Muslim remain in Pakistan. They will get no protection.”
This massacre of Sheikhupura had played a great part in purging Western Pakistan of its non-Muslim population.
Translation of the verbal statement of Sardar Gurdial Singh, Tehsildar of Sheikhupura up till 20th August, 1947 and later posted at Zira (Ferozepore District).
Amass meeting of Muslims was held at Sheikhupura on the Cattle-fair ground on about the 8th or 10th August, 1947 under pretext of praying for rains, which were scarce in that part of the year. But in reality in this meeting instructions had been given to Muslims by the Muslim League leaders and officials for the attack on Hindus and Sikhs, which came a little later. Muslims were very secretive about what transpired at this meeting. Nothing could be got out of any Muslim about its proceedings. I tried my Muslim orderlie, but he put me off. It was apparent after this that something was brewing. We guessed its nature, but we naturally could not know the details of the Muslim programme. All Muslims E. A. C’s at Sheikhupura stopped coming after the date of this meeting to the Club of which all Gazetted Officers were members. They instead met in the evenings separately somewhere. Here they presumably perfected plans of the attack on Hindus and Sikhs which came about a fortnight after this meeting.
I met after this meeting Disney, the Anglo-Indian Deputy Commissioner, and told him about the panic felt by Hindus and Sikhs at the contemplated Muslim attack. But he only gave vague assurances that all was well. But we felt that all was not well.
I accidentally saw in the secret drawer of the D. C’s Indian Christian stenographer a long list containing the names of all prominent Sikhs of the town and of some Hindus. This was marked ‘Confidential.’ I was at a loss to guess what this list could have been made for. It was very unprecedented that any confidential or other list about the town should be made without my knowledge, as I happened to be the Tehsildar and one moreover, who had enjoyed the D.C’s confidence. But this one was naturally not shown to me, as these were the names of the victims who were marked out for murder on some prearranged date. This conspiracy was obviously hatched by Muslims with some knowledge and probably with the complicity of the D.C. I naturally told about what I had seen to Hindus and Sikhs, and all got forewarned.
On the 19th August Haq Namaz Khan, Superintendent of Police, who came from Gurdaspur, passed through Sheikhupura on his way to Sargodha, where he was now posted. I saw him standing outside the D.C’s house, inciting Muslims to kill Hindus and Sikhs. His propaganda went obviously a long way towards precipitating the attack.
Prominent Hindu and Sikh citizens met the D. C. and asked him what arrangements existed for the safety of their life and property. The D. C. told them that he could not guarantee no incidents, and that a serious situation was developing, which was obviously a fact.
On the 20th the Muslim Officer who was to relieve me arrived and I handed over charge of my office to him. I asked the D. C. to give me enough petrol to carry me to the border of Amritsar district but he refused to give any. In this situation I did not know how I could ever get out of Sheikhupura. All supply of petrol to non-Muslims was stopped, so there could be practically no evacuation. Petrol was issued only to Muslims who were dumping it for purposes of arson, as was clear five days later when rioting broke out.
On the 20th August an order was made prohibiting the going of vehicles outside the Municipal limits of Sheikhupura without a permit. This order covered all kinds of vehicles including carts etc. I was, therefore, necessarily stuck up at Sheikhupura.
On the night between August 24 and 25 there were cases of arson in Gurdwara Bazar, in non-Muslim shops and houses. Before this, military had paraded in the town for 4 or 5 days. False alarms had been raised of a Sikh attack in Changar Mohalla, a Muslim locality. This was a ruse to impose curfew, which was imposed on the 24th. Immediately after curfew was imposed, on the 24th August night arson occurred with police help, while Hindus and Sikhs were shut up in their houses. Hindus and Sikhs who came out of their houses to extinguish these fires, were shot at. Non-Muslims asked the D. C. to lift the curfew, as in its presence Muslims committed crimes, but that of course was not done.
On the 25th August I saw two Muslim Magistrates going into the house of Seikh Karamat Ali, West Punjab Minister, whose house as a matter of fact was the centre of this entire anti-Hindu-Sikh conspiracy. On the 25th there was a good deal of coming and going at Karamat Ali’s house, and everywhere in the town brisk preparations were going on for the attack on non-Muslims which came that very day.
Towards mid-day attack was made by Muslims on the Sikh quarter of Ramagarha with a population of 1,200. I myself noticed huge fires in this area and he attacked Sikhs’ attempts to escape the flames. Sikhs, however, soon after rallied and met the Muslim onslaught. The huge Muslim mob was followed by the military, who were there to cover up the mob. The Muslim mob retreated when the Sikhs put up stiff resistance. The military, which had not yet come into action, goaded back the retreating Muslim mob for a second attack. But again the Sikhs fought back and the Muslims retreated.
Now, at about 2 p.m. the military took up positions to attack the Sikhs. There was a fight between Sikhs and the military for 2 hours. It was, however, a very unequal fight, though the Sikhs fought bravely. By 5 p.m. the entire area of Ramgarh had been devastated. Many Sikhs had been killed under the heavy military fire.
After this the Muslim mob spread out in different directions for attack. Its number had now tremendously gone up. Street after street was surrounded by the mob, military and the police in large numbers. Wherever the military came, the attack was intensified. A large part of the town was burned. Looting was enormous and incalculable. The total number of those killed may be between 14,000 and 15,000. The looting, murder and arson stopped only on the evening of the 26th August.
On the 25th August night when the main bazar was burning, the D. C. was present, but he did nothing to prevent destruction.
Hindus and Sikhs had collected in various places for shelter, as in Gopal Singh’s factory, in Atma Singh’s factory, in the Namdhari Gurdwara etc. The military mopped them up in large numbers there, with rifle fire arid with machine guns. 3,000 were killed in Atma Singh’s factory. Here women were molested. One Sikh resisted this; he was immediately shot dead. Swami Nand Singh, leader of the joint Peace Committee of Sheikhupura, was shot dead by his ex-comrades of this Committee.
Inside the compound of the Namdhari Gurdwara two wells were filled with the bodies of such Sikh girls as had immolated themselves by drowning to escape dishonour. Two other wells were similarly filled.
When this carnage was proceeding, Ahmad Shafi, Section 30 Magistrate, tauntingly told Lt. Col. Dr. Surat Singh to convey to the Sikh leaders that Muslims had done in Sheikhupura in two days what Sikhs might not be able to do in their entire history.
4. THE SHARAQPUR MASSACRE
Sharaqpur is a municipal Town and a Sub-Tehsil of District Sheikhupura. It is twenty miles from Lahore situated on the main Lahore-Lyallpur Road.
Its population was ten thousand consisting of 10% Hindus and Sikhs.
Leading Muslim Leaguers of the city gave us assurance by oath of holy Quran for protection.
As advised by Mahatma Gandhi and believing the false assurance of Mr. Jinnah we determined to continue in Pakistan.
Suddenly on 27th August, 1947 we met with unprecedented brutality.
At 9 a.m. on that day a party consisting of the following men:
(1) Mr. Fazil Ilahi Kahli (President, Muslim League).
(2) Mr. Mohd. Rafiq s/o Khair Din (Secretary, Muslim League).
(3) Mr. Mohd. Rashid s/o Khair Din (Secretary, Muslim League).
(4) Mohd. Shafi Bhatti (member, Muslim National Guard).
(5) Ibrahim Kasuria (member, Muslim National Guard).
(6) Haji Mohd. Sharif (Partner of Sharaqpur Bus Society).
(7) Shapha S/o Mohd. Sadiq Bharo Motor Driver.
(8) Ch. Sadar Din, Sub-Inspector of Police.
(9) Mr. Chima, Assistant Sub-Inspector.
(10) With four constables, armed with guns, rifles 303 and sten guns, attacked the non-Muslims and began to murder Hindus and Sikhs, with brutality which cannot be expected from a human being.
It is necessary to mention here that there was not a single man from outside among those brutes. They did not even spare the Government employees, i.e., Mr. Tek Chand Nanda, Second Master, Government School, Sharaqpur was thrown off his house and shot dead. L. Moti Ram Gulati (a vendor) was first maimed and later on shot dead.
L. Labha Ram Sethi Lumbardar’s eye-balls were removed and later on he was thrown alive into Deg Nala.
Small children were struck against the walls and some were cut into pieces.
Total number of those escaped from those brutes was seventy-one out of one thousand. All were left penniless.
Fifteen girls were abducted and whole property of Hindu-Sikh minority was looted.
All the corpses were removed by lorries to Deg Nala.
After that gold and jewellery worth three lakhs recovered from Ch. Sadar Din, Sub-Inspector by the higher authorities and was deposited in the Treasury of Pakistan.
Now our Government have recovered only three out of the abducted girls because Pakistan Government does not agree to surrender the remaining twelve.
Another fact which I want -to tell here is that most of the assailants were Khoja Mohammadans and they had given us assurance with the oath of holy Quran for protection.
Sd. Hans Raj Gulati.
Translation of statement of Shri Ram Das, Head Constable of Police, transferred from Gujranwala to Amritsar.
On the 27th July, 1947 I was transferred from Kamoke (Gujranwala District) to Gujranwala Police Lines. At Gujranwala I found large numbers of Hindus and Sikhs being stabbed. Among those arrested by the Police, however, the proportion was somewhat like this:
Muslim - 1
During curfew hours if any Hindu or Sikh was found out of his house, he was arrested, while Muslims went about armed and unchecked. I found many cases of Hindus and Sikhs being stabbed with the Police looking on.
On the 13th August I came to Gujranwala Railway Station to escort a Hindu neighbour of mine. On my way back from the station, near Talao Deviwala, close to Damdama Sahib I saw a fire in a house which a Muslim police constable had raised. It was the house of Sham Singh, owner of the Milap Bus Service, in flames. Myself and Mast Ram Head Constable tried to extinguish this fire but on entering the house we were attacked by a Muslim who was already inside, probably for looting. I threw back this Muslim into the fire. Mast Ram aimed his rifle at other Muslims who were setting fire to houses, and we arrested them, and marched them to the thana with incendiary articles on them. At the Thana these men were not taken into custody and our statements not recorded.
I used to go round the town as a member of the Police patrol. Wherever we noticed cases of arson Imdad Husain Shah, Sub-Inspector, who was leader of the Patrol, would order extinguishing if the house was a Muslim’s, otherwise the fire continued to blaze.
Mehar Ghulam Mohammad, Inspector of Police went to Gujranwala from Amritsar and he instigated Muslims to kill non-Muslim Policemen. Muslim constables while on patrol would shoot dead any Hindu or Sikh at sight.
On the 17th August I was in charge of the Police lock-up and had 17 Muslim constables under me. There was only 1 Hindu constable. The kirpan of a Sikh constable, Darshan Singh, was snatched from him. The Muslim constables were beating and abusing him. They said they would kill him. His situation was desperate. I appealed to Mohammad Baqir, Sub-Inspector to save this man’s (Darshan Singh’s) life. Darshan Singh was soon after taken away for an enquiry on the charge of abetting attacks on Muslims. I think they finished him.
On this day orders came from the Superintendent of Police that arms be taken away from Hindu and Sikh Policemen. On the evening of the same day we left Gujranwala. Between the 11th and 17th August, all non-Muslim localities such as Guru Nanakpura, Hakim Rai Street, Mandi Khajurwali, Brahm Akhara, Chowk Chashma, Bhabra Quarters inside Sheikhupura Gate etc. had been burned.
On my way to my village in Sialkot District on the 22nd August I saw at Narowal that Police were helping Muslim mobs in looting Hindu and Sikhs houses. On the 24th August, in my own village Lalla, in Sialkot District, all Hindus and Sikhs had been looted. Hindus and Sikhs were fleeing towards Jammu to save their lives. Gujarwali, a prosperous Sikh village was looted and burned under the lead of the Sub-Inspector of Police of Kila Sobha Singh. Very few Sikhs were, however, killed here as they were generally well armed. I saw villages Gill, Man, Dipoke, Nunarch and about 40 other villages of Narowali Tehsil burning.
One non-Muslim convoy which was coming from village Alipur Sayadan, was attacked near our village of Lalla, and 20 of its members were killed. Property worth 60 to 70 thousand rupees was looted.
Some prosperous Khatris of my village left for India on the 28th August with a group of 200 people. This group was attacked near village Dhamthal. From this group of 200 only 15 escaped killing. All the young girls who were about 25 in number, were abducted. Out of these 15 survivors all, with the exception of 3 or 4 were killed near Narowal. The loot here was worth about two and a half crores of rupees.
Some other Hindus and Sikhs of my village including my family, left the same day (28th August) in a group of 150. At Dhamthal again 2 girls out of our party were snatched and 2 Sikhs were killed. We put up resistance against our assailants, and so our losses were not heavy. At Narowal we were surrounded by a Muslim mob. I went to Ghulam Husain, Inspector of Police, who was known to me, for help. In the town I saw Sikh and Hindu holy places being looted and desecrated. On the way I counted 200 bodies of Hindus and Sikhs who had been killed. The Inspector refused to render us any help. Another Muslim officer promised safe-conduct only for my family, if I posed to be a Muslim. While on the way I found that 4 women and 2 men of our group had been thrown into a well by Muslims. Myself and my brother Gowardhan Das, who is a Police Constable, had our uniforms on. We posed to he Muslim Policemen of the place, and told the Muslim mob that this party had been given safe-conduct by the officers. The mob would not allow Sikhs to go, but anyhow we extricated the party.
When we reached Jassar, we found there 200 dead bodies of Hindus and Sikhs, who had been killed by the Baluch Military. Our party was attacked repeatedly on the way. When I came to Jassar refugee Q--amp, we were 15 Sikhs and 30 Hindus only. Near the railway station of Jassar I saw about 150 bodies of Hindus and Sikhs. Between Jassar and Narowal along the railway track I saw 600 non-Muslim corpses, mostly Sikhs. By I reached Dera Baba Nanak, I saw another 600 or 700. From Jassar to India our train was not attacked, as Sikh Military was escorting us.
Those whom the Muslims killed, they generally speared, killing slowly and with great gusto.
From the “STATESMAN”, APRIL
The story of 90 women of the little village of Thoha Khalsa, Rawalpindi District, who drowned themselves by jumping into a well during the recent disturbances, has stirred the imagination of the people of the Punjab.
They revived the Rajput tradition of self-immolation when their men-folk were no longer to defend them. They also followed Mr. Gandhi’s advice to Indian women that in certain circumstances even suicide was morally preferable to submission.
Thoha Khalsa, situated at the foot of a hill, until recently belonged to members of a minority.1 It was small, prosperous and pretty.
About a month ago, a communal army 3,000 strong, armed with sticks, tommy guns and hand grenades surrounded it. The villagers defended themselves as best they could. They had two guns which they put to good use. But in the end they had to raise the white flag.
Negotiation followed. A sum of Rs. 10,000 was demanded by the besiegers. It was promptly paid. The intruders gave solemn assurance that they would not come back. The promise was broken the next day.
They returned to demand more money and in the process hacked to death 40 of the defenders. Heavily outnumbered, they were unable to resist the onslaught. Their women held a hurried meeting and came to the conclusion that all was lost except their honour. Following the example of Indian women of by-gone days, they decided to evade inglorious capture. Ninety women jumped into a small well. Only three were saved. There was not enough water in the well to drown them all.
Whether or not it is a case of cause and effect, it is a fact that the forces of law and order in Lahore and other large centres in the Punjab have received strong military reinforcement and that the large-scale trouble which was apprehended for June 2 and subsequent days has not occurred. There has, however, been no cessation of the sporadic stabbing and arson which prevent a return of public confidence and to these have been added the indiscriminate killing and maiming caused by home-made bombs. Rumour also speaks darkly of an organised conspiracy2 which pays its criminal minions well for their desperate misdeeds. We think that fanaticism and goondaism may well contain the answer to all questions on the how and by whom of these outrages, although goondaism normally required greater opportunities for loot than are now permitted by police than one in a thousand of Lahore residents are actively concerned in the foul play. We are not convinced, however, that the remaining 999 are in complete ignorance of the perpetrators.
“CIVIL AND MILITARY GAZETTE,”
June 18, 1947.
Statement of the following ladies, refugees in D. A.-V. College Camp, Lahore recorded in Urdu and translated into English is as follows:
We all with our men and children started for D. A.-V College Camp, Lahore on Sunday, 28-8-47 by a private truck belonging to Muslim Pathan, Daud Haider. Two hundred rupees were paid to him in advance as fare, and it was settled and promised that if we all reached our destination safe and sound, we should pay him Rs. 2,000 more.
We reached village Lange-ki-Thatha safely. Afterwards the road was flooded with water and upto further four miles we went on in the water but at last we reached a place which was over flooded and there was no possibility of our truck crossing further. At that place the said Pathan Driver, Daud Haider insisted on being paid the rest of the money. Our men refused first and reminded him of his promise and agreement but the fellow began to quarrel. Afterwards we thought it proper lest any danger should happen, to pay him the balance of Rs. 2,000 there and then. After a short time a huge mob armed with axes, chawis, birchas, etc. from neighbouring villages with the conspiracy of Daud Haider driver himself attacked our truck and our all men 30 in number, 7 old women and five children were killed on the spot and dead bodies were thrown away in near canal adjacent to a village school.
Before attack, the raiders threatened us and snatched away all luggage, gold ornaments and cash which we had. After a great hue and cry suddenly Pir Sahib of Faizpur who was also Headmaster of the School of that village accompanied by some other men reached the spot, and the rest of us under his own protection were saved. We all remained under his protection for five days. Out of us some women and children were put under Mian Yasin’s protection and we all were protected.
Two goondas, Sabku and Phatu of village Lange-ki-Thatha asked us to embrace Islam and we were threatened many a time. All the people of the village desired the same, but Pir Sahib and Mian Yasin were against this act. Thus all the people of his village turned against him and many a time he was threatened that he should hand over the Kaffirs. Otherwise he shall have to bear the consequences.
After that about ten Muslim Military men reached that village and threatened Pir Sahib for keeping us in his detention. So they suggested him to hand over us to them with assurance that we shall be sent safely in D. A.-V. College Camp, Lahore.
Pir Sahib agreed to their suggestion out of fear and handed us over to the Military men who took us to the trucks standing on the road. We had our seats in. But after a short period we were made to get down on the pretence of delay and were told we would be leaving next day. We stayed in the village school.
At night the Military men harassed us and did shameful acts with us.
(Here follow unprintable details of rape and brutality to these helpless women at the bands of Pakistan Military and Muslim goondas.)
Next morning Pir Sahib came to see us and was grieved after hearing our painful stories. Military men handed us over to him. He took us in a Mosque and protected us.
Next day the brother of Pir Sahib, who is an employee in Lahore came there and took us in tongas upto Lahore Residency under his protection. He also took two or three men with him for our safety from that place. He arranged a military truck for us and sent us to the D. A.-V. College Camp.
In addition to that the villagers of Lange-ki-Thatha snatched from one of us Mrs. Vidya Wanti, two girls, Sarla aged 4, Kanwal Kumari aged 5 and one Sikh woman named Gurcharan Kaur, and Ram Rakhi with her child Hari Ram. Besides this two aged women Parvati and mother of Bijliwala were also kept there. One girl Suresh Kumari, aged ten and a boy Charanjit Lal, aged 13 have been detained by the villagers of Faizpur.
1. Sd/- Krishna Wanti, widow of Kanshiram.
2The Muslim League conspiracy of organized murder.