ATTACKS ON CONVOYS
On the 28th January, 1948, four trucks were sent from Gujranwala to Nowshera Vikram police station for local (Pocket) evacuation. When one truck had been loaded with the luggage of the evacuees, a mob of one thousand local Muslims collected with axes, etc. and attacked the party and looted the property.
Letter dated 5-9-47 from Sir Francis Mudie1 to the Quid-i-Azam.
No. 2Dear My. Jinnah,
Government House, Lahore.
5th September, 1947
Many thanks for your letter of 26th August which arrived just after you left on Monday. I will certainly write to you more often than once a fortnight to keep you in touch with the situation here. I will also write as you asked me to, quite frankly.
The law and order position here has improved very definitely, but there are still great dangers. I got a telephone massage from the Commissioner, Multan last night that Muzaffargarh was giving trouble, and Dera Ghazi Khan is still disturbed. I think that the raiders took a pretty severe knock. There was serious trouble in Jhang due partly at least I think, to the incapacity and low morale of the Deputy Commissioner, but it seems to be quiet now. I am visiting Multan, Lyallpur and Jhang. I had hoped to go to Dera Ghazi Khan, but cannot get a light aero-plane, which is the only way of getting there quickly. So I have asked the Deputy Commissioner to meet me in Multan and bring the Nawab Leghari with him, if he can. I expect trouble in all the Western districts.
The refugee problem is assuming gigantic proportions. The only limit that I can see to it is that set by the Census reports. According to reports the movement across the border runs into a lakh or so a day. At Chuharkana in the Sheikhupura district I saw between a lakh and a lakh and a half of Sikhs collected in the town and round it in the houses, on the roofs and everywhere. It was exactly like the Magh Mela in Allahabad. It will take 45 trains to move them, even at 4,000 people per train or if they are to stay there, they will have to be given 50 tons of ata a day. At Govindarh in the same district there was a collection of 30,000 or 40,000 Mazbi Sikhs with arms. They refused even to talk to the Deputy Commissioner, and Anglo-Indian, who advanced with a flag of truce. They shot at him and missed. Finally arrangements were made to evacuate the lot. I am telling every one that I don’t care how the Sikhs get across the border: the great thing is to get rid of them as soon as possible. There is still little sign of the 3 Lakhs Sikhs in Lyallpur moving, but in the end they too will have to go.
The most serious recent development is the very rapid deterioration in the reliability of the Army. Yesterday Pathans in a Frontier Force Rifle Battalion in Gujranwala seized their arms and established a road block on the main road, and their officers could do nothing with them. Brigadier Mcdonald who belongs to the Regiment and can talk Pushto, was sent out this morning and the situation is now under control. I do not know quite what the mutiny was about. I imagine that the real trouble was that the Commanding Officer is a bania and the second in Command a Sikh: All the Hindus and Sikhs of the Battalion are being sent today across the border. The Muslims will, as soon as possible, be sent to Jhelum. Anyhow from this and another incident I understand that things are worse in this respect in N.-W. F. P.2 have convinced the Military that their own non-Muslims troops are number one priority for evacuees. And yet a proposal was seriously put forward that the Military should take over our police.
I am getting very doubtful and so is the General whether the plan of protecting evacuee camps by troops of their own nationality will work in practice. But we will have to try and keep the two armies absolutely apart.
From various sources I hear that the political situation is deteriorating. Yesterday there was a minor refugee demonstration with shouts of “Pakistan Murdabad”. I am told that Shaukat is afraid to show his face in the Muslim Refugee Camp here. I warned my Ministry about a week ago that this sort of thing was inevitable that when things go wrong on a large scale it is always the Government that gets the blame. At first they were inclined to attribute any unpopularity they may have sensed to the machinations of Firoz, Khaksars, etc. This feeling of resentment against things in general and against the Government in particular is bound to grow. The ways in which, as far as I can see, it can be countered are (1) propaganda reiterating what Government is doing for the refugees and (2) efficient administration.
Efficiency with my present staff is out of the question. We have one Financial Commissioner, instead of a normal two or three, and our present one, Akhtar Hussain though loyal and a good technical revenue officer, is certainly not capable of doing two men’s work. Out of three Commissioners of Divisions we have only one, and he is, from all counts, hardly up to the job. Out of five D. I. G’s Police we have only three and two are recently joined outsiders, one from U. P. and one from C. P. Finally to crown all we have no Chief Secretary-the Finance Secretary, a mediocre officer, is supposed to be doing both jobs. In all these matters the Ministry had to adopt the attitude of the ostrich.
They have got a “new scheme” by which no Chief Secretaryship, but on the general question of staff and, incidentally that of the Commissionership of the Lahore Division.3 I called on Liaquat and Mohammed Ali and had a joint meeting with them and my Ministers. Largely by Liaquat’s help I got the Ministers to agree to our trying to get back a number of ex-Punjab and ex- U. P. British I. C. S. Officers and to the retention of the Lahore Division. Shaukat was a bit difficult, I do not quite know why.
I do not know whether I have addressed you in this letter as you wish to be addressed. If not, will you please let me know?
(Sd.) Francis Mudie.
His Excellency Qiad-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Governor-General of Pakistan, Karachi.
ATTACK ON VILLAGE CHAK RAMDAS (DISTRICT SARGODHA)
Statement of Ram Dass Sabbarwal, Sub-Inspector of Police.4
That I am a resident of village Chak Ramdass, Tehsil Bhalwal, District Sargodha, situated on the bank of Katch Road linking Bhera and Khushab (10 miles away from Bhera). This village was formed by Baba Dhir Mal Jee, a prophet and a renowned Guru in the annals of Sikh History. Baba Jee was related to Guru Amar Dass Jee and had his disciples throughout Western Punjab and N.-W. F. Province. This village was established nearly 400 years ago and its area comprises of 6,000 acres of cultivated land owned by Hindus and Sikhs in total.
A party consisting of Mohd. Bux, weaver, Anwar, Mirza Jaithal, Munshi Ahmed Din. Khawja Fazalkrim, Maqbul blacksmith, etc., etc. had been busy amongst the local and the surrounding Musalmans in making secret propaganda to raid this small but rich Hindu village in all the four directions since the formation of Pakistan. They had collected arms and ammunition through various illegal resources at their disposal and started creating trouble for the Hindus now and then. No sooner did the Hindu officers i.e. R. B. Ch. Ram Singh, Superintendent of Police and Ch. Kewal Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Sargodha District who had set an example for creating peace, and keeping Law and Order in the District were transferred from Sargodha, these and other Muslims of the surrounding villages were at liberty to do cases of arsons and looting. They had been communicating all sorts of threats but we, on the other hand, keeping full faith in the Pakistan Government, trusting the repeated assurance given by our leaders and believing rigidly the joint Boundary Forces and the right cause of protecting the minorities in either Dominions, we remained sticking to our village and were ready to face the darkest consequences like brave citizens. The situation went from bad to worse with the passage of time.
On the 4th September, 1947, the Muslims from surrounding villages began to pour in from all sides in batches of 50 to 100 men fully armed with takwas, spears, swords and other illegal arms. We were compelled to close the doors of the village as night passed on and the number of the mob went on increasing. All the means of communication and transportation were cut off and we had absolutely no means left to ask for the help of the authorities for our evacuation and safety.
On 6th September, 1947, the Sub-Inspector of Police, Bhera, visited our village and instead of giving help in protecting us from the mob, he inspired them to kill us and ordered us to vacate the village under no protection and shelter and left for Bhera. The same evening, one man named Om Parkash Kapoor son of Lala Gopi Chand Kapoor was murdered by a group of Muslims headed by Mohd. Bux weaver of that village.
The report was sent to Sub-Inspector of Bhera who accompanied by Tehsildar came to the spot next day to prepare the case. Not less than 15,000 Muslims had surrounded the village when the Sub-Inspector came there, but he did not make any attempt to disperse the mob. On our request to pass a night with us for our safety, we offered the Sub-Inspector of Police Rs. 1,000 and 100 bags of wheat to be given to Pakistan Government but he refused and returned to his Headquarters at Bhera leaving us at the mercy of fate and Almighty to protect us. During his stay at our village, he examined the dead body, prepared the case. On his way back, he once again inspired the mob to loot and butcher us.
7th September also passed with no major incident although the number of mob had increased to 20,000. We had collected all our belongings, children, ladies old and young at one central place in the heart of the village with the brave slogans “Do or Die”, the only alternative left to us. We had four guns and one rifle (all licensed) in the village with a little ammunition. Under my direct instruction, five points were fixed for our defence. On the evening of the 8th September, 1947, the mob with all their full force attacked the village from the four sides. Nothing but heads of Muslims were visible and they looked like a stream of white turbans for miles and miles together on all the four sides of the village. Three sides remained safe. Unfortunately they succeeded in entering the village from the fourth side and set fire to the first street. My son Shree Arjan Dass was protecting at one side, S. Swaran Singh, Lambardar at another, Bhai Charan Dass and S. Iqbal Singh son of S. Gurbaksh Singh on the remaining two posts. Besides this, we had kept ready boiling water and the boiling sheeras of gur to be thrown on the raiders and heaps of pebbles and bricks for our defence. We had been defending our village at all costs and risks; my son Arjan Dass fired constantly at them so bravely from a hidden point that he repulsed them.
However, we continued our defence throughout the night and kept the enemy away from our central place. At exact 4 a.m. on the 9th September, the light of a motor car or lorry was visible passing on the kacha road. We in our single voice, shouted for help if there is some military man. At last a European military officer, with rank of Colonel who introduced himself as Col. Gordon came before us. We heaved a sight of relief and narrated the whole story to him. He assured us all the possible help he could afford and he did accordingly.
Col. Gordon arranged for us to vacate the village. So we did at about 10 a.m. leaving behind all our belongings and property in the village,
Statement of Ganpat Rai Khosla5 son of Lala Indar Sain Khosla, Assistant, Financial Commissioners Office, Fast Punjab Government.
At 4 a.m. on the 2nd August, 1947 the police came to my house at Krishan Nagar and arrested me. The police did not allow me to lock my house and said that they were responsible for it. I was taken straight in a car to the Fort. Mr. Razvi, the Superintendent of Police arrested me by putting the pistol at my back. I was locked in the cell- in the Fort from where I was taken at 9 a.m. Sub-Inspector Ghulam Rasul taunted me and treated me in a very spiteful fashion and gave me two or three slaps and locked me up again. I was taken out of the cell again at 11 a.m. and taken to the Interrogation Room. The same Sub-Inspector put me the question whether I had seen the Bucharkhana in Khishan Nagar. He told me after slapping me thoroughly again that just as that was a Bucharkhana for the animals, the Fort was slaughter house for human beings. Afterwards I was given thorough beating which continued throughout the day. The beating was sometimes by hands and sometimes by sticks. The police said that I should divulge whatever secret I had with myself, because they have been able to deal with chaps like Jai Prakash Narain. I said that I was a mere clerk and knew nothing.
1. I was taken out from my cell next morning at about 8 a.m. and was again thoroughly beaten with my clothes off. The police told me that the other chaps arrested, about 18 in number, had divulged various things about me proving that I was a ring-leader. I said that I was only a member of the A.-I. S. A. as will be clear from the Charka found in my house and I had nothing to do with bombs. However, the same treatment of beating by various policemen continued. I was given thorough shoe beating on my head and my hair was pulled forcibly by hand so constantly that only very few hair were left on my head. My present crop is one that grew afterwards. At the same time with the help of an instrument the hair of my private parts were extracted one by one causing me excruciating pain.
2. The third day I was again questioned and was given the same drastic treatment by beating, when I did not divulge anything. On the 6th August one Sardar Sohan Singh Dora, E. A. R. O. was arrested at the information given by one of our group-men named Goverdhan. I was taken out from my cell that night and was given such a thorough beating that I fainted, and after that I found myself in the cell next morning where they must have thrown me back. After that beating I often used to faint. They would specially beat me at the soles of my feet so that my brain may he affected. I was also made to stand before very high power electric bulbs and made to stare at the dazzling light constantly. I was beaten with a cane if I lowered my eyes from the bulbs. I frequently fainted in this process. A number of times human excreta was put in a cloth bag and tied round my face. This process continued till 1st September, 1947. On that day the rest of the men in my group were transferred from the Fort to the Jail. When they were in jail I could not see them because I was in a solitary room, but I used to hear their shrieks. I was in such a cell that one could touch the roof and it was so situated that even wind could not come in despite a windstorm outside.
3. Since I was never allowed to have a bath my body was full of lice caught from blankets. I was also threatened the administration of the same mixture of chillies, onions, garlic and water etc. up my anus but was not actually given the doze. After about 1¼ months stay the second time in the Fort my legs had become so stiff that I could not sit or stand properly and used to faint while trying to stand. One evening I was taken out and the Sub-Inspector told me that I would soon be sent back, but I must say “Yes” to all that we have been able to extort from other members of the party. Then a constable stood in front of me with a pistol in his hand and I was made to say the same thing as in the previous statement mentioned above.6 In fact I was asked to copy the previous statement. I signed it but I refused to date because the police wanted to have it ante-dated. This statement, which covered 37 pages, I was made to copy and I had to write continuously for three days as I was unable to write with a steady hand. Three to four days afterwards Mr. Malik, Superintendent of Police came. He said that I was very weak and that he would order the supply of milk to me, which I refused. He also ordered the change of my room at his next visit and that I should be made to walk about ten days or so in sunlight. I was also given a bath one day in the sun. On 13th March I was transferred to jail and a couple of days before that date Chaman Lal was also brought to my cell. He was surprised to see me there. He also mentioned that a statement has been taken out from him in similar circumstances. I had got by now so desperate that on one of the visits of the S. P. I boiled over and challenged them to shoot me which was better than my present life. Since the period of my detention had expired they now placed me in jail under Section 307 I. P. C. I stayed there till 7th of April when the prisoners were transferred to India.
Hair-raising Story of the Torture of Sardar Sohan Singh Dora, formerly Assistant Recruiting Officer, Arnritsar, by Muslim Police.
He was arrested by the C. I. D. on the 6th August, 1947 from the Recruiting Office, Abbot Road, Lahore and was taken straightway to the Fort where the Police were after getting ‘secrets’ from him. These were the details of his supposed expeditions in supplying arms to Master Tara Singh. He denied having made any such transactions. At that he was given such severe lashing with canes that the markings of this beating were on his back and toes for more than a year after.
He was pushed back into a cell. Afterwards he was taken into the ‘Kasab Khana’ (Slaughter House), the torture room in the Fort and was treatened: “Either you come out with everything or it will everything or it will go hard with you. This is a place where men like Jai Prakash Narain were set right; what are you then?”
On his refusal to make a “confession” as they desired, he was again given terrible beating. When he again refused they thrust his mouth above the latrine-hole of his cell and a man was made to sit on his back. He was kept in this state for two hours. This treatment continued for two or three days.
Then they gave him false information that his family members had all been arrested and were being subjected to terrible torture. He was by now desperate and preferred death to such life. But when they now tortured him he cried out aloud. On the 15th August, some Hindus were released from the Fort. They conveyed news of his torture outside. During this period he was given two chapaties and a small quantity of dal. One earthenware bowl served for drinking as well as use in latrine. The beating, given was on the soles of bare feet and this was done frequently. In the last extremity of suffering on the 26th August, he went on hunger strike. His beard and hair were pulled pretty often. From 6 p.m. to 12 p.m. he was manacled and handcuffed and in this state suspended from the ceiling. All this while he kept crying, at which the warders kept prodding him with a long bamboo stick. Sometimes he was pulled by the hair of the head and dashed to the ground. For four or five days of his going on hunger strike he was still suspended as before from the ceiling. But then he grew very weak and the beating was given up. Now he was so weak that he could not stir even to pass urine. So he urinated in the drinking bowl, and took water from the pitcher near urine. In a few days’ time his right side became numb and the effects of that continue tip till now.
On the 16th September, he was given the poisonous drug “Dhatura” in water which made him bleed while excreting and urinating. This made his throat parched, but he cried still. Then they stopped even to give him water. Now the water was mixed with urine which compound they called “Pakistani” water. At last when he was in the last extremity of pain and at death’s door on the 20th September, he was sent to the Central jail dispensary at Lahore where he was given some treatment. He had during this period since his arrest lost 54 pounds in weight.
At last in January, 1949 he was exchanged with a Muslim prisoner, repatriated to India and then released.
Statement of Sardar Prem Singh Prem, Advocate, Jullundur, Member of the Executive Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee:-
My village Dheri is in Campbellpore District, in the jurisdiction of Chauntra Police Station, 25 miles from Rawalpindi. On March 9, 1947 a huge Muslim mob collected to attack the village of Dheri, and entered into the Sikh Ward of the village. A large number of panic-stricken Sikhs sought shelter in the houses of such Muslims as they thought were their friends. The mob burnt and pillaged Sikh houses without a single exception.
Sardar Jaswant Singh, a devout and brave Sikh was my elder brother. His house was looted and burned along with the rest. Next day again the looting continued. Sardar Jaswant Singh was in the house of one Hayat Mohammed, who asked him to come over to him, on assurance of safety of life. Many people under threat consented to be converted, to Islam. When this proposal was made to Sardar Jaswant Singh he stoutly and indignantly repudiated the suggestion, and prepared himself to meet inevitable death. His elder brother first killed his (S. Jaswant Singh’s) wife; then other ladies of the family were killed-to save them from dishonour at the hands of the Muslim assailants. The mob in the meanwhile tore open the roof of Hayat Mohamed’s house where they were hiding, and fired on the family of S. Jaswant Singh. Then S. Jaswant Singh, his brother S. Sant Singh and nephew Dr. Bhagat Singh came outside, and were done to death by the mob.
The surviving ladies of the family and one brother of S. Jaswant Singh were contemplating self-destruction rather than submit to Muslim lust and fury, but in the meanwhile military was informed and they were saved.
S. Jaswant Singh’s uncle S. Gurmukh Singh, managed to escape with his family to the neighbouring village of Chakri which was besieged like Dheri, and massacre of Sikhs appeared imminent. S. Gurrnukh Singh killed the ladies of his family with his own hands, and prepared to face death. But within a few minutes military arrived, and the Sikhs of this village were saved…… This is one of the many stories of martyrdom and faith-unto-death displayed by Sikhs.
ATTACK ON A TRAIN AT LAHORE
A non-Muslim refugee train was loaded with 2375 non-Muslim refugees from the D. A.-V. College Refugee Camp on the 5th March, 1948. The refugees were brought from the D. A.-V. College camp in M. T.s provided by the M. E. 0. (India) under supervision of Captain R. D. Ray. The train was standing in a siding of the Lahore Cantonment Railway Station. In addition to the Pakistan Military which was to escort the train quite a number of armed Policemen were on duty. The train left for Moghalpura after 2 p.m. At Moghalpura it seems the train was detained for quite a long time. Two parties started searching the compartments-one party was constituted by the Land Customs and Railway Officials and the other by the Pak Military escort. The former started search from the tail end of the train and the latter from engine backwards. The Customs Department, however, did not do much and left almost the entire job to the Pak Military who rummaged almost all the compartments. The refugees were ordered to open their boxes. The Pak Military escort took away gold and silver ornaments, cash, clothes (Dupattas) etc., and utensils, wrist watches and gramophones. No lists were prepared either by the Pak Military or the Customs Officials. The Captain in charge of the Pakistan Military escort was approached by the refugees. He told them that at Wagha he would hand over the stuff to the Indian escort. The name of this Captain is not known but one of his subordinates Havildar Abdul Qayyum can be identified by Shri Vidya Sagar. At Harbanspura a bag full of ornaments was handed over by the Pakistan Military escort to their men posted there. Once again the Captain of the Pakistan Military escort was requested- for return of the ornaments but he gave the same reply.
At Wagha Railway Station Lt. Indra Bahadur Gurang with his men came to receive the train. The train was scheduled to reach Wagha at 12-30 p.m. but arrived there after a delay of almost 8 hours. Seeing the Indian troops on the platform all the refugees started shouting and complaining vociferously to Lt. Indra Bahadur Gurang about the occurrence. They informed him that the train had been subjected to very severe search in which all the gold and silver ornaments, cash, clothes (silken) wrist watches, gramophones, Khes Chadar (sheets) had been removed by the escort. The refugees also asked the Captain in charge of the Pakistan Military escort for the return of their articles. He told them that he would search the escort and had them lined up and asked the refugees to identify those who had taken away the articles.
There seems no manner of doubt that the entire valuables possessed by the refugees in this train were removed by the Pakistan Military escort in conjunction with the Customs and Railway Officials. These refugees according to Shri Lohari Mal, Superintendent, D. A.-V. College Refugee Camp, had their entire belongings with them including their gold and silver ornaments, cash, silken clothes, wrist watches etc. The Pakistan Military took away all these articles without preparing any lists and merely handed over a few pieces of silver ornaments to Lt. Indra Bahadur Gurang through the Inspector of Land Customs at Wagha. No record was kept of what was taken away from the refugees at Moghalpura Railway Station. There was, therefore, no means to verify whether what was returned to Lt. Indra Bahadur Gurang was the entire stuff taken. It seems amply clear that the gold ornaments, clash and silken clothes etc. after being removed by the Pakistan Military at Moghalpura Railway Station were handed over to the goondas present near the platform. A bag full of these articles was also given to the Pakistan Military posted at Harbanspura. ‘The fact that the silver and a few gold ornaments were returned merely to 22 out of about 2400 persons shows that a very large quantity of articles removed was withheld by the Pakistan Military and the Customs Officers. It is absolutely certain that the few silver pieces and 4 or 5 gold ornaments which were returned were just to confuse the issue and to show that whatever had been taken away from us was handed over by the Pakistan Military or by the Customs Officials.
ATRACK ON SIND EXPRESS
(Civil and Military Gazette Report)
Passengers arriving by Sind Express lit Lahore on Saturday, August 19, 1947 related harrowing stories of murder. After the train left Gujrat, a small body of Muslim passengers armed with axes and knives repeatedly stopped it, visited each compartment in turn, ferreting out those of another community (Sikhs) and ruthlessly butchering them. Sometimes these crimes were committed while the train was moving, sometimes in presence of parties who rushed towards the line from the countryside whenever a stop was made.
Some passengers attempted to save themselves by crawling under the carriages but these were pulled out and killed. Two leapt from the train and started across the fields. The train was stopped, chase given and the fugitives despatched. The earlier victims were killed with hatches, the later only more slowly with knives. A woman and her three small children were among the last to die. Once the train stopped at a wayside station when no more victims remained for the sacrifice and the murderers apologized to their co-religionists on the platform for the zeal which left them (the latter) “no one to kill.”
Mr. Bustin, Editor of the “The Civil and Military Gazette” wrote on these murders to Mr. Jinnah in an open letter in the C. & M. G. on 25.8.’47. “Fifteen deliberate cold-blooded murders may seem little enough to turn you gentlemen, from the tremendous task on which you are engaged, the creation of a State from a nation. But these fifteen shared the fate of many more. Few trains indeed come to Lahore without revealing similar atrocities.”
THE SIALKOT CONVOY
The official diary of the West Punjab mentions an attack on a convoy at Ravi Bridge on August 27.
“Vehicle in a convoy of Hindu Sikh refugees attacked for looting near the Ravi Bridge and Police inflicted 12 casualties on the looters.”
But the statement of survivors of this convoy of 60 vehicles made to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Health Minister of India at Amritsar is:
“When vehicles reached the River Ravi the drivers left and were absent for about a couple of hours. When they returned and were about to resume their journey they were attacked by an armed mob of about 1000. The escort fired a couple of shots in the air and did nothing to protect convoy. Large numbers were murdered.”
The Rajkumari counted 13 dead bodies-cut to pieces literally. Several others were seriously wounded.
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.
1(Sir Francis Mudie was the first Governor of West Punjab (Pakistan), and was removed in 1949.)
3This sentence reached us in this form. Some words no doubt are missing. (Editor)
4This statement, which is quite badly worded, reached us in this form. (Editor)
5Pakistan propaganda has made much capital out of this gentleman’s supposed confession which was greatly publicized in Pakistan. This is how his ‘statement’ was obtained by the Muslim Police.
6The ‘statement’ publicized in Pakistan. (Editor)