Gurbachan Singh Talib
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Sardar Gurbachan Singh Talib (1911 – 1986) was a Sikh scholar and author, who held the prestigious Guru Nanak Chair of Sikh Studies. He received the Padma Bhushan in 1985.
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Muslim League Attack on the Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab, 1947 (1950)
- Talib, S. G. S. (1950). Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab, 1947. Amritshar: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.   
Introduction by Ram Swarup
- For example, one report which appeared in The Statesman of April 15, 1947 narrates an event that took place in village Thoha Khalsa of Rawalpindi District. It is a story of tears and shame and also of great sacrifice and heroism. The story tells us how the Hindu-Sikh population of this tiny village was attacked by 3000-strong armed Muslims, how badly outweaponed and outnumbered, the beseiged had to surrender, but how their women numbering 90 in order to “evade inglorious surrender” and save their honour jumped into a well “following the example of Indian women of by-gone days.” Only three of them were saved. “There was not enough water in the well to drown them all,” the report adds. The author also gives an 85-page long “list of atrocities,” date by date and region by region, that took place during the months from mid-December 1946 to the end of August 1947. And these represent only “a small fraction of what really happened,” and they have to be multiplied “a hundred-fold or more… to get the right proportions,” the author says.
- Therefore, the Hindus and Sikhs, the minorities in the new Muslim homeland, were not to be suffered to stay there. This “minorityism”, the name for Hindus and Sikhs, was “the major enemy of the Milltat,” as Rehmat Ali, one of the early League leaders and intellectuals and coiner of the word Pakistan, said.
- This was broadly the approach of the generality of Muslims though there were also differences of emphases and in exceptional cases even disagreement with the main thesis. Some of them, particularly of Ulema class, sounded a warning that Pakistan might impede the establishment of Dinia by arousing unnecessary resistance among the Hindus; therefore, they stayed away from the Pakistan campaign and some of them even opposed it. They came to be known as “nationalist Muslims.”
- The book belongs to the time when Hindus and Sikhs were spoken of in one breath indistinguishably and it was taken for granted that they were one and that they had suffered and striven together. Its approach is very different from the one which had continued to be canvassed for over half a century even before this book was written and which has also continued to be in vogue during the -whole post-Independence era. Now for a century the Sikhs have been told by the controllers of Akali politics and by neo-Akali writers that the Sikhs are not Hindus, that instead of deriving from Hindu Advaita, Hindu incarnation, Hindu theory of karma and rebirth, Hindu Moksha, Sikhism has grown in revolt against Hindu polytheism, Hindu idolatry, Hindu caste-system and Hindu Brahmanism. And many Akali scholars have been re-interpreting their scriptures and re-writing their history in the light of this new understanding of Sikhism. The early inspiration was provided by Christian missionaries and British officials like Macauliffe, but it was internalized by many Akali scholars. While Kahan Singh of Nabha said at the end of the last century that Sikhs were not Hindus, some neo-Akali writers now take pride in saying that they are some kind of Muslims.
- Having proved its value, the politics of taunts and accusations continues unabated. Those who benefit by it have merely to hurl the epithet ‘communal’, and there is a panic all around and the accused try to establish their secular credentials by the only way they know - by denouncing Hinduism. All this has led to competitive minorityism, selective communalism, the politics of out-musliming the Muslims and Hindu-bashing. But this politics is already getting discredited and yielding opposite results. It is awakening the Hindus and it is making them realize that the whole lot is rotten and that they should now take things in their own hands.
- V.S. Naipaul, in his recent book, India: A Million Mutinies Now, provides some intimate glimpses into the minds of some of the actors in the Punjab tragedy. He tells us of an interview which he heard on the British Radio and which Bhindranwale had given from the premises of the Golden Temple undergoing fortification just before the Blue Star Operation: in this interview, Bhindranwale had said that Sikhism “was a revealed religion; and the Sikhs were people of the Book.” Naipaul says that he was “struck then by the attempt to equate Sikhism with Christianity; to separate it from its speculative Hindu aspects, even from its guiding idea of salvation as union with God and freedom from transmigration.” But at that time, he thought that it was merely “an attempt, by a man intellectually far away, to make his cause more acceptable to his foreign interviewer.” He did not realize that the attempt to give a Semitic rendering to their religions is an old one and is not limited to Sikhism alone, nor to men “intellectually far away.” It has very much to do with the circumstances in which the world came to be dominated by people of Semitic religions. During this period, monolatry, prophetism, revelation - concepts of little spiritual validity or worth - acquired a great political clout and social prestige and these began to be adopted by many subject people. They wanted their religions to look like the Semitic ones with a single God, a Revelation, a Prophet or Saviour, and a single Church or Ummah.
- Muslim League propaganda has sought to blame the Punjab happenings of 1947 on the Sikhs and in a secondary degree on the Hindus. A distorted and fragmentary picture, drawn up with completely bare-faced lying, has been presented to the world of a Sikh “Plan” to attack and drive out Muslims from the Punjab. And for a time a part of the world swallowed the lie, and the Sikhs got an unenviable reputation. But the pendulum of opinion slowly swung round in the right direction, and the Sikh name now has been fairly cleared of the supposed crime of a “Plan” against Muslims. That the Sikh (and Hindu) attack on the Muslims in East Punjab was retaliation under terrible and unbearable provocation is now admitted to be a fact by all impartial people; though it is not known everywhere of what horrible nature, of what prolonged duration and diabolical character was the provocation offered to Sikhs by Muslims over a period of several agonizing months-beginning from December, 1946. There was a war unleashed by the Muslim population of the Punjab to cow down Sikhs, and as a means to that, to carry on among them a total campaign of murder, arson, loot and abduction of women. Sikhs passed through the experience of this war as a people for months; and not thousands, but millions of them were forced to quit their homes for safety in the process. Without a clear knowledge of this part of the story a just and balanced view of the situation cannot be formed.
- The details of atrocities committed on Sikhs and Hindus given in these pages are not full or even a fairly large proportion of what actually befell. They are only representative episodes of what happened in a few villages and towns all over West Punjab and other West Pakistan areas. Imagine such things happening in thousands upon thousands of villages and hundreds of towns, and you will then be able to take in the proportions somewhat close to what the reality was-which, in the last analysis must, however, remain inexpressible in its full horror. The facts drawn upon are statements of sufferers of these horrors, recorded from complaints made to the authorities, from reliable press reports and from statements recorded with scrupulous fidelity and signed by those who made them, in the refugee camps in East Punjab.
1. Pakistan-Birth and Objectives
- The present overlords of Pakistan have declared times out of number that Pakistan is in character a Muslim State-the largest Muslim State in the world. This description of its character, when placed side by side with the declared character of India as a secular state, which she is also sought to be made in effect, has unnerved the Hindu population of faraway East Bengal, where alone now in Pakistan Hindus in any appreciable numbers are found.
- It is a significant fact that while in India, the Government discourages communal groups and parties, in Pakistan no group or parties other than communal are encouraged. A Pakistan Peoples’ Congress is inconceivable. When the Hindu leaders of Sind planned the establishment of a political party which might draw its membership from people belonging to various religions, the reply of the Pakistan Government was characteristic. The Hindus of Sind, (such of them as are still there) might have a Hindu Party, but not one which Muslims also might join. In the Muslim State of Pakistan, no Muslim may join any organization other than a purely Muslim one. It is such an attitude which bred the riots of 1946 and 1947-Calcutta, Noakhali, N.-W. F. P., the Punjab, Sind and Bahawalpur.
- This name-Pakistan-means literally ‘the Land of the Pure’ or of Purity. This implies clearly that Hindus and all that belongs to them credally and materially is impure, defiled and unholy. In a communally-charged atmosphere to have broadcast such an offensive name and concept among the Muslims was to extend an open invitation to racial and communal arrogance, contempt of others, challenges and counter-challenges.
- Pakistan, as has been told above, was originally conceived to comprise only the North-Western areas of the Punjab, Sind, Kashmir, the N.-W. Frontier Province and Baluchistan. But in a later concept of the thing, issued in the form of a revised version of the original scheme, it was devised to comprise, besides the areas originally ear-marked for it, also Assam and Bengal in the East, and Hyderabad and Malabar in the South. In addition to these extensive strongholds of Muslim power in the North-West, in the East and the South, beleaguering non-Muslim India from all strategic points, were also to be several smaller though by no means too small, Muslim pockets, studded all over the country-one in the United Provinces, one in the heart of Rajputana and another still in Bihar. Thus, the Muslims of all India, and not only those of the Muslim majority areas, were to have independent countries of their own, parcelling out India into so many new Muslim-dominated States.
- Rehmat Ali, whatever else he might be, has been quite fertile in the devising of catching, though somewhat megalomaniac names. Besides Pakistan, he has been responsible for the concept of India as Dinia, a cleverly suggestive anagram. Dinia would be the continent which, if not at the moment the home of an Islamic State, was such in immediate conception, waiting to be converted and subordinated to Islam through the proselytising and conquering zeal of its sons. Bengal and Assam, conceived as a joint Muslim-majority area by a logic partial to Muslim reasoning, was rechristened by Rehmat Ali Bang-i-Islam or Bangistan, redolent of the Feudal Moghal name of Bengal, Bangush, which has been offensive to the Hindu, suffering for centuries under the hell of the Muslim. The Muslim Homelands parcelled out of Bihar, the U. P. and Rajputana (the Ajmer area, where is the shrine of the great Muslim Saint, Khawaja Muinuddin Chisti) were to be called respectively Faruquistan, Haideristan and Muinistan. Hyderabad, ruled over by a Muslim Prince, with its 86% Hindu population, was to be called Osmanistan, after the name of the present Nizam; and the Moplah tracts of Malabar were named Moplistan. There would, besides, be areas known as Safistan and Nasaristan. On the map of India (or Dinia) as drawn by Rehmat Ali, non-Muslim areas make unimpressive, miserable patches, interspersed on all sides with Muslim states, born out of conflict with Hindu India, and pursuing a set policy of converting, conquering and amalgamating this Hindu India into themselves.
- The Muslim League advocates of Pakistan have been prolific with assurances of fair treatment towards minorities-assurances never seriously meant to be kept, and broken in the most unworthy manner in all the territories which became part of the Pakistan State. What the Muslim Leaguers had been planning all these years was really to drive out minorities from Pakistan, and in this way to solve the minority problem.
- Of course, when the Muslim Leaguers did actually come to establish a Government of their own on August 15, 1947, they drove the non-Muslim population out of their country with scant ceremony-by a campaign of pillage, murder, rape and arson. This method effected the exchange desired much quicker and in a more thorough way than could be done by any human legislation. As a matter of fact, the driving out of minorities had begun as early as November, 1946 with Noakhali, when the whole of Northern India was flooded with destitutes begging for a morsel or a piece of cloth to cover their shivering bodies. Later this was effected in December, 1946 and January, 1947 in the Hazara District of the N.-W. Frontier Province, when Sikhs and Hindus had to flee for dear life into the Punjab. And then came March, 1947 with its horrors. August, 1947 let loose a vast flood of persecution of millions. So, the Muslim scheme was being translated into historic fact to the letter.
- To return now for a while to Rehmat Ali, whose pamphlets provided the germ of the Pakistan idea, and the Muslim League Plans and such bodies as the Muslim National Guards, which were subsidiary to it. Rehmat Ali had the dream of reviving the old Muslim glory. His ultimate vision was of a Muslim India or Dinia, over which Islam must rule in its traditional manner. The areas carved out for Muslims in the midst of Hindu India mentioned above, were called by Rehmat Ali. ‘footholds’. Footholds from which presumably the Muslims were to plan expansion into the heart of the neighbouring non-Muslim areas, and to link up with one another, for tightening up their stranglehold in these non-Muslim areas. Jinnah’s own abortive proposals for a ‘corridor’ to link up Eastern and Western Pakistan was somewhat of this nature. Have an area running all over Northern India, cutting India into two-and plan for the rest from this advantageous position.
- Presumably had Hyderabad been in a position to accede to Pakistan, a corridor would have been demanded for linking it up with Pakistan in the shape of an outlet to the sea. This has been the tempo, the character and the insatiably ambitious nature of the Pakistan Plan, conspiring for the conquest of Hindu India. Rioting and pillaging would be accounted only as minor rehearsary exercises in such a mighty and vast programme of action!
- During the period the Muslim League was preparing, as is now evident from what happened in 1946 and 1947, for a large-scale struggle against Hindu India, and in the Punjab inevitably against the Sikhs and Hindus, the Muslim League had been gathering a private army of its own, to which training was being imparted in fighting, stabbing and assaults. Arms were being collected, and demobilized Muslim personnel of the Indian Army were freely enlisted in the League army. This army, begun about the year 1938, continued to expand and grow better equipped.
- Still more important and more dangerous was the Muslim National Guards, which by the bye, is now converted into the Pakistan National Guards. The Muslim National Guards did not owe any formal allegiance to the Muslim League, though it had the same flag as the Muslim League had. It is well-known that the National Guards was the secret arm of the Muslim League. Its membership was secret and it had its own centres and headquarters, where its members received military training and such instruction as would make them affective in times of rioting, such as using the lathi, the spear and the knife. The Unit Commander of the Muslim National Guards was known as Salar, over whom were higher officers, but all functioning secretly and with clearly such instructions as would make them formidable in rioting against unarmed non-Muslims populations. When in January, 1947 the Lahore office of the Muslim National Guards was raided by the Punjab police, a good deal of Military equipment including steel helmets ant badges were recovered. The National Guards had their own jeeps and lorries, which helped them in swift mobility for attack on Hindu and Sikh localities, in sniping and stabbing lonely passers-by and in carrying away loot. One of the articles the Muslim National Guards prized and stored was petrol, which would be used not only as fuel in transport, but as an excellent means of incendiarism on a large and devastating scale. This use of it the Muslims of the Punjab, and earlier of Bengal made very thoroughly and effectively, and hundreds of burnt town and villages in the two provinces are tragic evidence of how thorough the preparations of the Muslim League had been for its war on Hindus and Sikhs.
- The Muslim League, therefore, had this two-pronged thrust to make in its assault on the non-Muslims of the Muslim majority areas. In the first place it was preaching its two-nation theory and its uncompromising opposition to the Hindus, and in the Punjab, to the Sikhs as well.... Secondly, the Muslim League had been preparing the Muslims physically and militarily for such a fight, which when it came, the Hindus and Sikhs were caught unawares, and suffered heavily in the dead and in the injured, in women abducted and dishonoured, in property looted and houses and religious and educational places burnt. Such retaliation as came from the Hindus and Sikhs was only belated, and after the Muslim onslaught was becoming continuous and a threat to their very existence. Before August, 1947 such retaliation wherever it came, it even served the purpose of the Muslim League, for it created that atmosphere of a civil war in India, which the Muslim League found necessary for the furtherance of its programme and policy. It could trot out atrocity stories and incite Muslims elsewhere to fall upon Hindus and Sikhs, as they actually did in the N.-W. Frontier Province in December, 1946, and January, 1947. Such was the aim and method of the Muslim League.
2. The Cabinet Mission and the Muslim League Direct Action
- That the police and the officialdom had gone thoroughly Muslim League was demonstrated by three successive events: The Provincial Assembly elections in the Punjab early in 1946; the Muslim League agitation against the Khizar Ministry in January-February, 1947 and the Punjab Riots which began early in March, 1947 and continued in Pakistan as late as January of 1948, till which month incidents of glaring brutality on a colossal magnitude against the Hindu and Sikh remnants of the population continued to be reported.
- Preparations were made by the Muslim League for attack on the minorities in every case a good time before the actual occurrence. Arms had been collected and distributed..... The attacks were simultaneous, widespread and in places so open and so sure of non-interference by the authorities that the assailants collected and marched with drums beating, shouting Muslim League slogans, and even making military formations. There was nothing secret about these attacks, as the police were already on the side of the attackers.
- Large-scale arson, murder of males, abduction, rape and dishonour of women, brutalities to children, looting, forcible conversions etc. all these features were common to the localities affected. Those attacked were first asked to pay sums of money to pay off the invaders; then followed more demands, and attacks by outsiders.
- The victims were given no quarter when beseiged. Places of worship were desecrated, and religious feelings were outraged with fiendish gusto. Shaving of Sikhs, feeding of Hindus and Sikhs on beef, circumcision of Hindus and Sikhs, marrying away young girls and widows of Hindus, and Sikhs to Muslims-these practices were resorted to.
- Muslim League leaders and Press said nothing in condemnation of these outrages. On the other hand, they trotted out imaginary stories of provocation by the non-Muslims, and of supposed retaliation by Muslims. This in every case kept up the morale of the assailants.
3. Prelude to Genocide of Hindus and Sikhs
- Calcutta and Noakhali did not bring any condemnation from the League of these criminal attacks on minorities. Far from it-in the League Press the attempt was made to shift the responsibility, where there occurrences were admitted at all, on the Hindus. (53)
- In such a province the life of the minorities is not worth a day’s purchase, if the majority decides to make things hot for them. (53)
- By the end of December, 1946 conditions in the Havelian area had deteriorated so far that all Hindus and Sikhs of this area had to leave their homes and property at the mercy of the Muslim marauders, and seek safety of life and honour in the Punjab. ... By the end of December, in Hazara it became a general uprising against Hindus and Sikhs, who were killed and robbed, and their houses burnt and sacred places desecrated. (54)
- In all these and other places Hindus and Sikhs were killed, their houses looted and burnt down, Gurdwaras and/or Hindu temples desecrated, Hindu and Sikh evacuees from places of danger waylaid and attacked and the entire Hindu and Sikh population forced to seek refuge in the Punjab. As, however, the numbers involved were not very large, and moreover, neither the Frontier Congress Government nor the Congress-Panthic-Unionist Coalition Government of the Punjab wanted to excite the Hindus and Sikhs of the Punjab, this serious campaign of extermination against the Hindu and Sikh minorities was given the minimum of publicity, and the general public never had a notion of the serious magnitude or import of what was happening, or that another Noakhali was being enacted at the other extreme of India. The features of Noakhali, or for the matter of that, of all Muslim attacks on minorities, were repeated here-mass murder, looting, burning, desecration, collusion between the police and officials and the marauders, with the Muslim League working as the guiding hand in pursuance of its Direct Action Programme, behind what was happening. (54-55)
- The Punjab continued to be tense all through the latter part of 1946 and early 1947. The Muslim League wanted to capture power in the Province, but its intentions were now known to be so fascist, so totalitarian, and its programme and policy so completely to be the enslavement, nay elimination of minorities, that the League Party in the Punjab Assembly although the largest single party in the House, could not get even a single Hindu or Sikh M. L. A. to give it support. (56)
- The Muslim National Guards recruitment proceeded with very increased speed during all the months after the Direct Action Resolution of the Muslim League was passed. So great and ubiquitous was the organisation of the League Private Army, the Muslim National Guards, that every Muslim mohalla, every small town, sometimes every considerable village, had its own National Guard contingent and its commander, called Salar. One would be surprised to find the organization existing very often in unlikely and out-of-the-way places. The Guard collected arms and petrol-almost everywhere. They received secret instructions from head-quarters, and had a quasi-military, fascist kind of organization, with the rule of implicit obedience to the orders of the leader. (57)
- Declaring unlawful the Muslim National Guard perturbed the League leaders a good deal. It meant the weakening of the League’s power of coercion of minorities. Mr. Ghazanfar Ali, later a member of the Interim Government on behalf of the League, called this banning “an attempt to ban an important part of the activities of the Muslim League itself.” (57)
- That this estimate of the real character of the movement was a mistake, was soon made evident by certain ugly incidents, which must have shocked those who thought that the proverbial leopard of the Muslim League had changed his spots. The League which had to its credit several years’ campaign of hate, of the two-nation theory, of its Direct Action, Calcutta, Noakhali and the N.-W. F. P. attacks on the minorities, could not transform its character formed all through its above mentioned activities over years. In the Punjab Agitation the usual slogans raised by the League crowds were: ‘Lar ke lenge Pakistan’; ‘Khun se lenge Pakistan’; ‘Dena hoga Pakistan’; ‘Leke rahenge Pakistan’ etc. All these slogans, as the Sikh leaders rightly pointed out, were really attacks directed against the Hindu and Sikh minorities, who to a man were opposed to the establishment of the Islamic State of Pakistan, and to enslave whom to the rule of the Muslim-majority this state was sought to be established. The Sikh leaders felt deeply perturbed over the growing strength of the League Agitation, and over the week-kneed and pusillanimous attitude with which the Punjab Government was dealing with this movement of extremely dangerous potentialities. (60)
- That this same police force could deal sternly and revengefully with the non-Muslim movements, even though the latter might be perfectly non-violent in character, was demonstrated by the repeated police firing on Hindu and Sikh students on the 3rd of March in Lahore, when these students only took out a procession to demonstrate their protest against the impending formation of a Muslim League ministry in the Punjab.
- The Hindu and Sikh students of Lahore took out a big procession to demonstrate their resolve not to tolerate a Muslim League Ministry. This perfectly non-violent procession was fired on by the Muslim Police, which had stood hooliganism and law-breaking from Muslim mobs for over a month in the Province.
- These riots were no ordinary riots, but were a war of subjugation and conquest in which the Muslim people, the Muslim police and Muslim officials worked in perfect unison, and brought widespread death, destruction and uprooting to Hindus and Sikhs in a dozen districts, killing many thousands and uprooting about a million, before the month was out.(70)
- So, from the 5th March, 1947 onwards the constitutional game was up, and for the Hindus and Sikhs it became a struggle for sheer life against a fierce and well-planned Muslim onslaught-well-planned in that the Muslim League had a fighting corps (the Muslim League National Guard), ample stores of weapons, both sharp-edged and fire-arms, and a plan of attacks in which with police and official help the Muslims were to be encouraged and covered against risk, while Hindu and Sikh retaliation, if it ever were planned, was to be stifled. (70)
- Left to themselves, Hindus and Sikhs, although they reeled under the first unexpected blow in the first and second weeks of March, yet they would have rallied and retaliated, for the Sikh has never taken beating for long. But the Sikhs and Hindus were helpless against police and official backing of the Muslims and for the moment could at best defend themselves in a place like Amritsar where they were not heavily outnumbered by Muslims. In other places, where they were outnumbered, the Muslims rained destruction on them-month after month. Such retaliation as came, and as has been hinted at by Chief Secretary Akhtar Hussain in his report quoted above, came towards August, when with the nearness of partition the stranglehold of Muslim police and officials began to loosen on the Eastern districts. But just then this stranglehold was complete from Lahore westwards, and from there it became total mass murder and driving out of Hindus and Sikhs, with looting and abduction on a scale horrible to contemplate. (71)
4. March, 1947.
- In other districts of the present province of West Punjab (Pakistan) and in these above-mentioned districts, immediately before and after August, 1947 the situation became one of mass killing of Hindus and Sikhs and of abduction of their women-folk, looting of their property and burning of alien, houses. (74)
- The district of Amritsar, in which Hindus and Sikhs received, outside Western Punjab, the severest punishment at Muslim hands in the pre-partition period, had a slight non-Muslim majority in population. While the Muslim population of the district was 46.52%, the Hindus and Sikhs made up 51.46%. But the city of Amritsar itself was, in spite of its intimate Sikh associations, overwhelmingly Muslim in population, which was situated mostly quite deep along the fringe of the city on all four sides. Its nearness to Lahore and the particularly close concert between it and the local Muslim police and officials made it very formidable indeed in the months from March to July, 1947. (74)
- These districts were worse situated from the point of view of the harassed and beseiged Hindu and Sikh populations, even than the districts of the Rawalpindi Division in the Punjab. These Districts backed on the tribal Afghan territory, into which the Hindu and Sikh women and others could be easily kidnapped. Flight was impossible for these unfortunate people either, for they were separated from the Hindu-Sikh areas of the Punjab by a very long belt of Muslim areas, through which no non-Muslim could travel with safety in those terrible months of anarchy in the Punjab. (75)
- But the worst carriage and destruction came in the Western districts-Multan, Rawalpindi, Campbellpur, Jhelum and Sargodha where right from the 5th March the League-led Muslim mobs fell with determination and full preparations on the helpless Hindus and Sikhs scattered in the villages, at the rate usually of a few Hindu and/or Sikh homes in the midst of a large Muslim population. (76)
- These attacks were open, unchecked and of the nature of a thorough extermination-the methods being everywhere uniform, such as stabbing, arson and the humiliations inflicted in forcibly converting the men and dishonouring the women of the minorities. (76)
- As a corollary to the above, in the period up till August, 1947 there were about a million Hindu and Sikh refugees from the Western districts of the Punjab, from the North-Western Frontier Province, from Baluchistan and the devastated city of Lahore, besides Amritsar, who had to be looked after in refugee camps by the Punjab Government, by the Sikh States of the Punjab and by bodies like the Hindu Mahasabha and the Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. There were very few Muslim refugees anywhere in this period. Such few as there were, came mainly from Amritsar, where alone up till August, the Hindus and Sikhs had been able to put up anything like a fight for life against Muslim aggression. (76-77)
- (e) The Muslims gave further evidence of plan and preparation in their aggression in respect of the following features of their action: (i) They were well supplied with arms, such as daggers, swords, spears and even fire-arms. (ii) They had bands of stabbers and their auxiliaries, who covered the assailant, ambushed the victim and if necessary disposed of his body. These bands were subsidized by the Muslim League, and in many cases cash payments were made to individual assassins on the number of Hindus and Sikhs bagged. There were also regular patrolling parties in jeeps which went about sniping and picking off any stray Hindu or Sikh (This was a feature mainly of the cities of Lahore and Amritsar). (iii) Petrol was in plentiful supply with the Muslim aggressors everywhere-both for purposes of transport and for quick arson. This must have taken some time to be collected in such huge quantities. (iv) The concert between the Leaguers of a place and their opposites of other places and the Muslim police and authorities everywhere, was remarkable. Till non-Muslim military appeared on the scene, there was no relief at all for Hindus and Sikhs, as the Muslim police never took action against the Muslim aggressors. (v) In towns like Amritsar, where the earliest attacks occurred, even before any Hindu or Sikh was thinking that fighting would take place, the Muslims were fully prepared for the offensive. For example, they had distributed among their own folk all the available sword-blades in Amritsar. On Muslim shops had been written in prominent lettering ‘Muslim Shop’ in Urdu to protect these shops from planned arson. (77)
- The attack came swiftly and over a vast area in the Rawalpindi Division, .... This beating taught the Muslims of this town a salutary lesson, and although the Hindus and Sikhs had for long to bear a state of seige, yet they were not murdered and pillaged on the scale on which this occurred in the unprotected and unarmed country-side, where it was general massacre of Hindus and Sikhs, especially of the latter. ... In the rural areas of Rawalpindi, however, it was a case of mass attack by Muslims, and a general massacre of Hindus and Sikhs. (78-79)
- Nine Hindus and Sikhs were murdered treacherously by Muslims in Lal Kurti Mohalla, after being decoyed into entering the Muslim Zone for peace negotiations. This was not a solitary instance of such murder done by treachery, as similar things occurred in other places too, both in March and in the post partition period.
- The invaders marched on to their attacks fearlessly and openly, with drums beating and with a large display of firearms, sometimes even modem automatic weapons. (80)
- Forcible conversion was the other alternative to death for a non-Muslim. The ultimatum was given to the population of a village either to embrace Islam or to face death. Most Hindus and Sikhs preferred death to the shameful surrender of faith, and died, sometimes fighting and at other times with great tortures, at the hands of the sadist religious zealots of the Muslim League. Such women as could not be abducted or dishonoured, generally escaped this shame by immolating themselves. Thoha Khalsa village, of which an account will follow, is a classic example of such sacrifice of life on the part of 93 Sikh women of that place. This, the best known incident of its kind, however, is not the only one. In scores of places, both during the March attacks and the post-partition attacks on Hindus and Sikhs, women immolated themselves to escape dishonour at the hands of the maddened and ferocious lusting Muslim mobs. Those who were forcibly converted were, if they were Sikhs, shaved off and circumcised; the Hindus too were circumcized, even the grown-ups. The women converts were generally given in marriage, if they were unmarried or widows, to Muslims, the Nikah ceremony being performed by some local Maulvi. A large number of such shaven Sikh converts to Islam arrived as refugees in March, 1947 in Amritsar, Patiala and other places, from Rawalpindi and the Frontier Province. (81)
- The assailants did not spare even little children. It was naked beastliness performing a devil’s dance. Children would be snatched from the hands of their parents, tossed on spears and swords, and sometimes thrown alive into the fire. Other cruelties equally horrible were perpetrated. Women’s breasts, noses and arms would he lopped off. Sticks and pieces of iron would be thrust into their private parts. Sometimes the bellies of pregnant women were ripped open and the unformed life in the womb thrown out. In some places processions of naked Hindu and Sikh women are also reported to have been taken out by the Muslims mobs. (81)
- Maddened with the zeal for exterminating the ‘Kafirs’ and making room for the establishment of an Islamic State in Northern India, the League-led Muslim mobs combed hundreds of villages as has already been related above, in the Rawalpindi District.
- In Thoha Khalsa, on March 12, 1947 after long and heroic resistance, 200 Sikhs were killed. The women were asked to embrace Islam, but 93 of them, old and young, decided to escape dishonour by drowning themselves in a well, which they did. The Muslim invaders, aghast at this tragedy, fled from the place. A little later, the military arrived and rescued the survivors. (85)
- In the village of Adiala, on March 8, 1947 Muslim mobs collected by beat of drum in broad day-light. The invaders raised a false alarm of a Sikh attack on themselves, and on this pretext, fell to looting the Hindu and Sikh quarters, which they did extensively. Hindus and Sikhs were ferreted out, and were burnt alive, stabbed or shot dead. The number of those killed was above a hundred. 40 were forcibly converted. The Muslim police watched the whole of this carnage going on, and did just nothing about it. (85)
- In Sukho, where stiff resistance was put up by Sikhs one girls’ school and one Gurdwara were burnt. In Daultala too, very stiff resistance was put up by Sikhs.
- In Tainch and Harnali about two dozen Sikhs were killed and brutalities committed in the latter place. About 30 women were abducted from these places and the Gurdwaras were burnt. In Harial about 20 Sikhs were killed and 40 were abducted. The Gurdwara was burnt. This last is Master Tara Singh’s home place. Masterji’s house were razed to the ground with sadistic vengeance, the site struck with shoes and ploughed over.(84)
- In Bamali, on March 8, about 80 Sikhs were killed and more than 105 were abducted. Some Sikhs in this village killed their womenfolk to save them from certain dishonour at the hands of the Muslim invaders. In Banda 20 were killed, including women and children. The Gurdwara here too was burnt.
- At Nara, in the tehsil of Kahuta, Sikh women and children were burnt alive, and the women were tortured in ways most devilishly ingenious and sadistic, which it is not possible for any decent human being to describe.
- On March 7, the Frontier Mail was stopped by a Muslim mob at Taxila Railway Station, in Rawalpindi district. Hindu and Sikh passengers, especially the latter, were pulled out and 22 dead bodies were left on the platform.
- About the same time, be it noted, another Muslim mob killed Hindu and Sikh passengers in a train while it was held up outside Sharifpura, a suburb of Amritsar. Train hold-ups and killing of Hindu and Sikh passengers was a regular feature of the Muslim League plan of action, as various incidents from March, right up till January, 1948 show.
- Cambellpur witnessed atrocities on Hindus and Sikhs, even much worse and on a larger scale. In Rajar, in Tehsil Fatehjung of the Cambellpur district on March 10, the Muslim mob which attacked was armed with rifles. In this attack 300 Sikhs were killed and 3 Gurdwaras were burnt and the Sikh Scripture was desecrated. In this place, 116 Sikhs including women and children there roasted alive inside a Gurdwara. 95 women were abducted and forcibly married to Muslims. All Sikh houses were burnt and looted.
- In the villages Pand and Tali Pandi in this District on March 9, Sikh houses were looted and burnt on a large scale. An ultimatum was given to Sikhs to embrace Islam and a large number were forcibly converted. Such of the Sikhs as did not get converted, were brutally done to death, and these included old women and children. Some were also burnt alive. In the village of Jhan, the entire Hindu and Sikh population was wiped out. In Parial, 150 Hindus and Sikhs out of its total population of 160 were burnt alive while they were taking shelter in the Gurdwara. In the villages of Chakri and Dheri, Sikhs fought against overwhelming numbers and many were killed.
- In Cambellpur lawlessness was of an especially serious nature. In the village of Dheri, on March 8, the attack was made by a large mob which advanced with drums beating. A very large number of Sikhs, among whom were women and children, were killed. Such dastardliness which spared neither sex nor age was a regular feature of this Muslim League campaign of extermination of Sikhs and Hindus. Various kinds of brutalities were committed. Hindus and Sikhs who were converted, were forced to swallow beef.
- Everywhere in Campbellpur District, there appears to have been no law or Government in these days. The Muslim police abetted and aided the assailants of Hindus and Sikhs. The Muslim mobs everywhere advanced with drums beating and with the Muslim League flag flying. Raping of women, forcible conversions, torturing of men and women were freely indulged in besides burning and looting. Gurdwaras were burnt and desecrated. In Chauntra all Sikhs were forcibly converted, and their womenfolk given over to Muslims. Later a plot was hatched by Muslims to kill all these Hindus and Sikhs, notwithstanding their recent conversion.
- All these atrocities on Hindus and Sikhs brought no condemnation whatever from the Muslim League leaders. They either kept silent about them, or continued to trot out imaginary atrocities on Muslims. This not only encouraged the Muslim goondas, but gave them the confidence that they could go on safely with the blessings of the League leaders. Defence Leagues of Muslim lawyers and others were set up to rescue from the clutches of the law murderers and beasts in human shape who had perpetrated unspeakable atrocities on innocent and defenceless human beings. The Muslim League Press continued to protest against the so-called police excesses in Founding up Muslim bad characters and criminals, against whom action in fact was inadequate and very much belated. Such action as was taken, came when the military appeared on the scene, and when the Punjab Government decided a little to modify its disastrous policy of making the Punjab Police Department as entirely Muslim preserve.
- All this was done in village after village after the Muslims had given assurances of safety on the Koran to Hindus. Hindu women were molested and abducted. Altogether 50 villages in this tehsil were looted with arson, murder and abduction of women. Ears, noses and breasts of women were cut off, and they were raped in the presence of their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons. Such Hindus as approached Muslims with messages of peace were brutally and cynically murdered by these League gangs. Forcible conversions of Hindus occurred on a large scale. It is estimated that Hindus were wiped out in this district over an area of about 500 square miles.
- The conduct of the police at once changed even on the first day when the Hindus and Sikhs took out a procession in protest against the attempt at foisting Pakistan on the Punjab. The procession of Hindu and Sikh students was perfectly nonviolent. It only raised slogans, but these were in no way against Muslims as such. There was no evidence that this agitation would either grow violent or hold within itself any potentialities detrimental to peace. It was constitutional agitation. Yet the police fired on this procession and several students were killed; many were injured. This was, in the words of the Sikh leader Giani Kartar Singh ‘an attempt to crush, appositive to Pakistan with police aid.’ He further declared, ‘The police did not fire in Lahore for a single day during all the 34 days of Muslim League agitation. It is amazing they could not tolerate our meetings for a single day.’
- The Muslims then took to stabbing and assaulting of stray Hindus and Sikhs and to setting fire to Hindu and Sikh houses and buildings. For this kind of warfare they had long been trained. Stabbing had been one of the items in which Muslims, whether members of the Muslim National Guards or not, had been given special training, as the facsimile of the certificate given earlier will show. For efficient arson they had collected petrol and other incendiaries, which were pumped into a building, and over the sprayed woodwork a piece of burning cotton or other flaming object thrown. In a few minutes the whole place would catch fire, and the entrapped inmates would either be burnt alive, or would be killed by the Muslims who would be waiting outside to pounce upon them as they struggled out of the flames. Before this, in Calcutta and other towns Muslim Leaguers had tried this method of warfare. It left the Hindus and Sikhs aghast, as they were not provided with the means of defence against such a total war of extermination. With the police planning with, aiding and shielding the Muslim League goondas, Hindus and Sikhs felt the situation becoming desperate for them. Stabbing and waylaying of Hindus and Sikhs became a common occurrence during these days. Hindus and Sikhs going about singly or even in small groups were almost certain to be stabbed to death. In tongas, in buses and even at the Railway Station they were not safe, for Muslims would be lurking with daggers concealed on them, which they could use skilfully and with fatal effect.
- A Sikh was standing at a milk-shop, buying milk. He was stabbed while standing there and killed. A Hindu was going on a bicycle. He was stopped on the road by a group of Muslims, asked to prove whether he was Hindu or Muslim, and on it being ascertained that he was a Hindu, he was put on the road, and his throat cut with slow torture like an animal slaughtered in the Muslim way. (96)
- The award of the Boundary Commission, which in effect was the award of Sir Cyril Radcliffe was based on the population figures and any ‘other factors’ did not enter at all into its determination. And so the Sikhs were not only cut into twain, but their best lands and holiest shrines and perhaps the most enterprising portion of their population were thrown to the wolves.
- They had perhaps a long-range plan as well, of which we got hints from the way the Muslims prepared for an attack on the Hindus and Sikhs of Delhi on the Punjab scale. That plan evidently was to create centres of Muslim disaffection and rebellion against the future Government of the Indian Dominion, and to prepare the way for occupation of the East Punjab, Delhi and whatever else might come into the bag, by Pakistan. With Kashmir thrown in, the empire of Pakistan on the western side would stretch from at least the Jumna westward. This was the ambitious Pakistan Plan. In order to make such a plan a success, it was very essential that Hindus and Sikhs must be thoroughly beaten down and driven, as far as possible, from the Muslim zone, which was designed to spread as far cast as the Jumna.
- After the elimination of minorities had been effected to a great extent in the Rawalpindi Division and in parts of the Multan Division, and a large part of Amritsar had been devastated, it was decided by the Muslim Leaguers to drive Hindus and Sikhs out of Lahore by methods of large-scale murder, loot and arson, for which the police was very willing accomplice. (97)
- In May the attack on Hindus and Sikhs assumed very large proportions. Regular burning, murder and pillage started. On May 18, the Muslims of Mozang, a high Muslim majority area of Lahore attacked the Hindu and Sikh inhabitants. The Muslim mob is said to have been ten thousand and was supplied with rifles which report speaks of as having come from the armoury of the police station of Mozang, through the courtesy of the Muslim Sub-Inspector. The arms thus loaned were to be returned after “use”. Several Hindu and Sikh buildings were set on fire, and moving about in the Mozang area became extremely risky for any Hindu or Sikh. (97)
- 21st June dawned terrible and grim in Lahore, even more than the two previous days. On this day a bus was stopped by Muslim goondas outside Mochi Gate, a purely Muslim locality. Hindu and Sikh passengers were pulled out, the Muslims being asked to stand in a separate line. The Muslim goondas on such occasions used the term ‘chhatra’ (a sheep) or ‘suer’ (pig) for the victims, and asked the drivers if they happened to be Muslims, to surrender their prey to them. 10 of these unhappy passengers were stabbed to death and left dead on the Circular Road. On this day the city, of Lahore, both walled and new, saw altogether 46 fires raging in it. In the walled city alone, a thickly populated area, concentrating a population of 3 lakhs in a square mile or so, 20 fires were burning in the Hindu and Sikh localities. Gurdwara Baoli Sahib inside Dabbi Bazar in the walled city was attempted to be burned, but was saved by the arrival of a military patrol. On the 22nd June, the campaign of arson took a still more widespread and ‘all-out’ form. On this day the town had as many as 69 fires burning in its different localities. Shahalmi Gate, the biggest and busiest trading centre of Lahore, almost entirely Hindu, was the spot selected for destruction by Muslims this time. (103)
- July (1947) was a month of violent and widespread attacks on Hindus and Sikhs in Lahore. The elimination and extermination of these minorities by the Muslims was proceeding apace now, and the field covered was coming to embrace more and new spheres of life and activity. (105)
5. Note on Attack on Gurdwara Dehra Sahib
- Baoli Sahib Gurdwara, situate in Dabbi Bazar, and close to two thickly populated Muslim areas, was burned on the 4th June. The place was in flames, and such Sikhs as were inside it were shot dead or roasted alive. (108-9) (Lahore)
6. The Gandhi - Jinnah Appeal for Peace
- The Muslim League leaders pursued a path contrary to the spirit in which an appeal like the Gandhi-Jinnah appeal should have been followed up. They continued to visit troubled areas like Amritsar for further incitement and for giving directions for new attacks. They continued with a pose of hypocritical innocence, to denounce imaginary Hindu-Sikh atrocities against Muslims. A full-hearted condemnation of the Rawalpindi Carnage or the Multan destruction never came from the Muslim League. (112)
- So, attacks on trains and buses, burning of whole quarters of towns, murders of thousands with unspeakable atrocities proceeded unchecked or uncondemned by the League. Its plan of action was succeeding admirably. Pakistan was coming within near sight by every act of lawlessness committed by the League adherents, for it was only another argument for separate states for two such hostile peoples as Hindus and Muslims.
7. Frontier Province and D. I. Khan
- There, Hindus and Sikhs were simply waylaid and killed or their houses attacked and their property and womenfolk carried away.
- This kind of behaviour has been found to be characteristic of Muslims during the last Punjab disturbances: peace-makers and those who were specifically sent for to negotiate have been done to death. The Muslim Leaguers have respected no canon of civilized warfare. Women and children have been murdered, atrocities committed and brutalities indulged in.
8. Round about August 15, 1947
- Hindus and Sikhs realized with a rude shock that the speeches of the Muslim League leaders were merely a smoke-screen to conceal their designs of securing complete elimination of the minorities from their own areas, and were meant only to lull them into a false sense of security. These very leaders were financing and guiding the operations of the goondas of the Muslim League, who in collaboration with the police did the work of arson and stabbing.
- This social arrogance made the temper of Muslim aggression grow hotter and hotter as August 15 approached. Attacks on Hindus and Sikhs everywhere, burning of their houses and shops, hounding them out of their villages and fields in every district, became the order of the day. In this campaign the police and military, which now with the partition of personnel and assets between India and Pakistan were completely Muslim on the Pakistan side, gave not only active help to the riotous Muslim mobs, but often-times led them, directed their operations and finished off the job of murder where the mobs could not succeed single-handed.
- In dozens of places in Hindu and Sikh houses this kind of action was repeated: A group of Muslims would force open the door of a Hindu or Sikh house, no matter even though the curfew would be on. The men-folk would be led out under the pretence of interrogation by some policeman who would be in the party. Outside the men would be stabbed to death. Then the property would be systematically looted. The women were killed if they happened to be old. The younger women were abducted and raped. In the Mozang area, a Sikh family of six or seven men and as many women met such a fate. The men were led out and killed. The women jumped down from the upper store of their house to escape dishonour. They were seriously injured, though none died. But the experience was widespread.
- The important village of Manihala was attacked on the 20th August under the direction of, the notorious Magistrate M. G. Cheema. Hindus and Sikhs were ordered at 10 p.m. to quit their homes at half an hour’s notice, otherwise fire would be opened on them. The entire Hindu and Sikh population got ready to leave within the stipulated period, and naturally could not carry anything with them. Just outside the village, the Muslims fell upon them, and abducted a large number of women and killed some people.
- Muslim leaders deliberately spread false and baseless atrocity stories about East Punjab, and incited Muslims everywhere to murder and drive out Hindus and Sikhs.
- In the history of the Muslim League War on the Hindus and Sikhs of the Punjab in 1947, Amritsar occupies an outstanding position. It was in this city, along with Lahore, though with an intensity even greater than in the latter town, that the most sustained war, lasting for over five months was waged on the Hindus and Sikhs, especially the latter, by the Amritsar Muslims. In the scheme of the Muslim League, Amritsar appears to have been Theatre of War No. 1. ... Amritsar, to use a not inappropriate parallel, became a kind of Stalingrad of this Muslim League-Sikh War.
- In Amritsar as in Lahore one might rarely come across a Hindu or Sikh policeman, else all the force was Muslim. The Muslim police helped Muslims to collect arms both lethal and firearms and ammunition. Smuggling was done in collusion with the Muslim police who were posted on all strategic points. Storage of arms and petrol, the latter for purposes of quick arson, was done in houses and buildings which were protected from detection by the Muslim police.
- Again, the operation of the curfew was made to work in favour of the Muslim assailants and to the detriment of the Hindus and Sikhs who might want to protect their houses from burning. Muslim goondas or even Muslim policemen set fire to Hindu and Sikh houses during curfew hours, and no Hindu or Sikh was allowed, on pain of being shot, to come out of his house to fight the fire. This happened both in Lahore and Amritsar. The police stood guard while Muslims broke open Hindu and Sikh houses and shops and carted away the loot, at great leisure. The dumps for such looted property were known to and guarded by the Muslim police. The police went shares with the looters. Hindu and Sikh officers were generally held under terror by Muslim policemen, and in some cases were attacked, or not protected when attacked by Muslim mobs, as in Amritsar, Dera Ismail Khan and other places. Sometimes rifles and rounds were supplied by Muslim policemen to Muslim mobs. Muslim policemen went about in lorries and jeeps sniping at Hindus and Sikhs, and in several cases asking men to come out of their houses on some pretext and then shooting them dead. This happened in a number of cases in Amritsar, and in other places.
- The Muslim localities were situated in a ring quite deep all around the town of Amritsar. Hindu and Sikh areas were in the interior of the circle, and once the Muslims decided to close in upon these areas and shut egress and ingress into the city, Hindus and Sikhs were shut in and cut off from the rest of the world... In the meantime, without any provocation being given by any Hindu or Sikh, Muslim goondas in thousands collected in all parts of the City, especially in the outskirts, near the approaches to which areas the Muslims had an overwhelmingly large population. The collecting of Muslim parties and mobs all over the town and up till a great depth from all approaches practically closed the town to those who were outside it and made it impossible for those inside it to get out.
- The police were not merely neutral in this, but were planning for, leading and aiding the Muslim aggressors.
- No one in the whole city ate anything on this night; no one slept a wink. The whole town was ringing with the yells of the attacking Muslims and the defiant shouts of Hindus and Sikhs. Flames were rising and tall buildings were gutted with huge fires. (149)
- During the night, the Hindu and Sikh quarters got hell. Parties of Muslims would go about shouting Pakistan and Islamic slogans, setting fire to Hindu and Sikh houses... Hindus and Sikhs trying to escape from flames were lynched by the mob. A large part of Amritsar was reduced to cinders and rubble in the fires of this night and the one following it. If one stood on the top of a high building in the night, red flames could be seen rising high, spread over large areas, lending a terrible and awful glow to the darkness of the night.
- Attacks on Sikhs found anywhere became a feature of the Muslim campaign in Amritsar. Any Sikh found anywhere on the road was attacked and killed. A large number of Sikhs coming from the villages around Amritsar, and many pilgrims coming from outside to visit Darbar Sahib were stabbed by Muslim parties lying in ambush.
- The assailants stopped the arriving train by climbing on to the outer signal and raising it. Then the mob, concealed in Muslim houses along the railway track, fell upon the helpless Hindu and Sikh passengers, and murdered a good number, including women and children before the train could be restarted and brought to Amritsar station. Trains and lorries coining from Jullundur and Pathankot and Narowal were similarly attacked by Muslims of this suburb and Sikhs killed with great brutality. Men, women and children were chased like animals and gored to death with spears. This was the first train-attack made anywhere in this conflict, and this kind of thing was repeated by Muslim Leaguers in many places in the subsequent months.
- Besides the Muslim mobs and assassins, Muslim police shot out of hand any Sikh or Hindu they could lay hands on. Muslim police are known to have gone about prowling of a night, to have sometimes called out of their homes Hindus and Sikhs and to have shot them dead on the spot. This practice they called ‘shikar’ and it was a terror for Hindus and Sikhs.
- The Muslim police was working with full vigour in implementing its policy of partiality towards Muslims. In the extensive house searches, both in Amritsar town and in the countryside, every semblance of a weapon was taken away from Sikhs-not only spears, but even wood-choppers and knives. Licensed weapons were confiscated so that whole groups of Hindus and Sikhs were left defenceless in time of attack.
- Muslim soldiers on duty invariably acted as the Muslim police had so far done. They connived at Muslim mobs setting fire to the city and murdering Hindus and Sikhs, while they were very prompt to arrest any Hindu or Sikh found in any public place, any pretext serving for such action.
- The Muslims themselves were mostly steel-helmeted, and so could even sally out on Hindus and Sikhs, while Hindus and Sikhs, being unprovided with any such defence, got serious and even fatal injuries from these brickbat showers.
- There is a marked difference in the behaviour of Muslims and Sikhs towards women and children captured during this fight. While Muslims everywhere dishonoured, abducted or murdered Hindu and Sikh women and children, Sikhs never resorted to anything of which they might have reason to be ashamed. On the first day of attack, several Muslims got killed by an infuriated Sikh crowd in a locality which was at the junction of a Muslim and non-Muslim zone, not very far from the centre of the Sikh influence. More than one hundred Muslim women and children, whose menfolk had either been killed or had run away for safety, fell into the hands of the Sikhs. Sikhs kept them safe and fed them for the two or three days that the fighting lasted and all communications in the town were cut off, and later sent them under escort to the City Police Station, These women acknowledged the chivalry and courtesy of the treatment of the Sikhs towards them. (156)
10. West Punjab Ablaze
- 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 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.
- 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.
- In many places Muslim pirs directed these attacks and characterized them as a holy war waged against infidels, that is Hindus and Sikhs.
- 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.”
- Attacks on Hindus and Sikhs began all over the district of Jhang near about the 24th August... 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.
- In the month of November, Hindu and Sikh girls brought by Pathan raiders from Kashmir were sold in the bazars of Jhelum.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Even women and children were not spared, and were ruthlessly cut to pieces.
- The turning out of non-Muslims from Sind is very amply illustrative of the naked policy of turning out of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan, for no other reason whatever except that they were not Muslims. There was a policy of systematic terrorization of Hindus. Their business premises were looted, their womenfolk molested, and the avenues of normal respectable life entirely closed to them. Thus, through terror and intimidation, within the period of less than a year twelve lakhs out of the fourteen lakhs of Hindus in Sind have been forced to migrate to India.
- This has happened in spite of the fact that in the words of Shri Mansukhani, Secretary, Sind Congress Refugee Relief Committee, New Delhi, “not one single Muslim lost his life at the hands of Hindus in any act of retaliation or self-defence, not to talk of any act of aggression; but where from the first day of the birth of Pakistan, Hindus have been systematically done to death, by the knife, by the bullet. by the throwing out of the windows and doors of running trains. The object has been one and the goal clear. Pakistan has desired that it should be a theocratic state in the sense that all its citizens should be Muslims. This battle has been remorselessly waged on one long front of Western Pakistan.”
- All these happenings occurred at a time when in India, Mahatma Gandhi undertook his last fast to get better treatment for the Indian Muslims. That was the response in Pakistan to the Mahatma's gesture, and the faithfully carrying out of the Mahatma's instructions by Hindus and Sikhs. Exactly when Delhi was being made safe for Muslims, in Karachi 800 Sikhs were massacred, and all Hindus looted and despoiled, had to move into refugee camps.
12. Did Sikhs (And Hindus) Voluntarily Leave Pakistan?
- Pakistan propagandists, in order to hide the shameful crimes of the Muslim League leaders, a part of whose programme it was to carve out a purely Muslim State and to eliminate religious minorities from it, have put forth a mischievous piece of propaganda that Sikhs (and by implication Hindus as well) left Pakistan by a design. Mat this ‘Design’ could have been passes ordinary human comprehension.
- Muslim League leaders had long advocated exchange of population between Muslim and non-Muslim India. All those who advocated the establishment of a Muslim State also advocated as its necessary corollary the exchange of population... Though, it may be said here that this exchange was no real exchange-it was all the driving out of non-Muslims from Muslim majority zones, while Muslims, except for the isolated case of Bihar, where the Hindu riots were ruthlessly suppressed by the Congress Hindu Government and Pt. Nehru, everywhere were safe. (216)
- In reality, such fantastic things are being said by Pakistan only to cover up their own conspiracy and crimes against Hindus and Sikhs, whom they persecuted, harassed and with murder, rape, arson and loot drove out of Pakistan. Here are a few grounds for believing that Sikhs and Hindus left Pakistan under very great duress, and that they were extremely unhappy to do so, as this coming away lost to them all that was precious to them in the material and spiritual way.
- Tribune: 8-8-47. Mahatma Gandhi advised Congressmen who met him at the residence of Mrs. Rameshwari Nehru at Lahore on 6-8-47 that they should die with dying Lahore.
- Sikh history and the dearest association of the Sikhs are enshrined in these places. To think that Sikhs and Hindus would leave en masse all that has been mentioned above, if it had been possible for them to retain these, is fantastic nonsense, worthy only of the mendacions propagandists of Pakistan.
13. Did The Sikhs Have A ‘Plan’?
- Pakistan propaganda has sought to make the world believe that the happenings of 1947 in the Punjab were the result of what it calls ‘Some specific Plan’ on the part of Sikhs. -What this ‘Plan’ exactly was, what were the specific objectives which it set out to achieve is not made exactly clear, but nevertheless it is asserted that a Sikh ‘Plan’ existed to destroy Muslim life. Barefaced lying has been known to go quite far in the affairs of the world but such a high degree of it as has manifested itself in Pakistan propaganda against Sikhs in particular and against India in general, is a rare treat and is hard to beat. It must be a very stupid world which Pakistan expected would swallow the stuff put forth by its propagandists.
- The Sikhs have been made the scapegoats for blame not only by Muslims, but also by ill-informed Hindus and other non-Muslims. The terrible sufferings of the Sikhs were totally lost sight of, as well as the constant provocation offered to them, the massacres, loot, arson, destruction of sacred places, and above all, dishonouring of their women. Only the excesses committed by Sikhs in retaliation were presented and magnified manyfold. And hence a totally false and distorted picture was presented in which the Sikh was presented as the villain of the piece. It even became fashionable in India to profess sympathy in and out of season for all kinds of Muslims, and to profess an equal abhorrence for Sikhs.
- It is obvious from the foregoing that while the Muslim League had its ‘plan’ of elimination of minorities, the Sikhs and Hindus retaliated in the face of the inhuman attacks on their coreligionists. To talk of a ‘plan’ with regard either to the Sikhs or Hindus is fantastic; more probably deliberate falsehood.
- 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... 97 guns and rifles were taken away... 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... 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.... The women-folk were not butchered, but taken out and sorted. The elderly women were later butchered while the younger ones were distributed... The children were also similarly murdered. All the valuables on the persons of the women were removed and taken away by the mob...
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.
- 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.
- Here follow unprintable details of rape and brutality to these helpless women at the bands of Pakistan Military and Muslim goondas.
- “On 4-10-47, a small caravan of about fifteen non-Muslims tried to cross the bridge Ravi from Pakistan to this side. They were entrapped by the Muslim Military picket on the other side of the bridge. That caravan included four women. The male members of the caravan were murdered during the night. Our Military picket on this side of the bridge heard shrieks and cries of the victims. The Gurkha Jamadar in charge of the picket saw the women with Military (Muslim). They kept those women in their tents during the night and the military picket on our side heard their shrieks too during the night as if they were being raped. Later on those women never crossed the bridge on this side.
- Copy of paragraph 1 of a report dated 6-10-1947 submitted by S. Harbhajan Singh, Magistrate 1st Class, Gurdaspur to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur.
- “Girls abducted from Mirpur side are sold in Jhelum city at Rs. 10 or 20 each. The local police refuses to interfere on the ground that the girls were not removed from the Punjab and also they express their helplessness because of the attitude of the armed Pathans possessing these girls. I am bringing this to the notice of the West Punjab Government but I am afraid nothing would come out of it and in our helplessness all these girls shall have to stand hardships for all their lives and suffer misery.”
According to the information received most of the girls abducted from Jammu and Kashmir States and some of the girls abducted from Gujranwala, Jhelum, Mianwali, Jhang and Dera Ghazi Khan districts are taken to the North-west Frontier Province and from there to the tribal territory. At Mansera and some other places (North-West Frontier) there are regular camps where Hindu girls are being sold.
- REPORTS OF INDIAN LIAISON OFFICERS
- A British Officer of the M. E. O. of West Punjab reported (September, 1947) that at a place near Sheikhupura he was called to rescue a Hindu girl, who had been carried away by Muslim National Guards. He found the girl in a hut with 4 of her captors, who had raped and cut off her breasts and were now frying them. He shot the lot.
- The evidence of the associates of the Khan (Iftikhar Hussain Khan Mamdot) in the Punjab Muslim League revealed that funds had been spent on the purchase of arms, in 1946 and 1947, for attack on non-Muslims in the Punjab. (p. 445)