Liaison Agency Records
Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation
Report on Police Administration in the Punjab, for the year 1948
In the North Western region it started with Haripur, was the one of the most important towns in the Hazara district of Punjab. A big Muslim mob of about 15,000 including tribal raiders and Muslims from the West Punjab surrounded the town on 26th August, 1947 at about 3 p.m. The mob was equipped with rifles, shotguns, spears daggers etc. The Muslim military posted at Haripur did not take any steps to stop the mass butchery. The mob in a most shameful manner broke to pieces the sacred idols and burnt the holy birs of Shri Guru Granth Sahib. About 3,500 shops and houses belonging to the non-Muslims were looted and set on fire.
In village Deo Sid in Lahore district 400 persons were killed and many injured. District Gujrawala, suffered with 1,000 killed. There was considerable excitement and resentment in Lahore on 21st September 1947 on arrival of three Muslim refugee trains which were attacked at Beas near Amritsar. Causalities were heavy in one train which brought in hundred dead and as many wounded. After leaving Mughalpura the train reached Harbanspur Railway Station the same day at about 4 p.m. Again a Muslim mob about four to five thousand strong armed with swords attacked the train. About 2,500 passengers were killed. When the train ultimately reached Amritsar on 21st October, 1947 about 1,000 refugee passengers came out alive, the remaining about four to five thousand had been killed on the way. This type of train tragedy was repeated a number of times.
Violence in West Punjab
The disturbances started in Sheikhupura on the 17th August, 1947, when a train coming from Kalakwal to Shorkot via Sargodha was attacked. The passengers were stabbed, murdered, injured and thrown out of the running train and their belongings were misappropriated by the assailants. About forty persons were killed, over hundred injured and thrown out. On August, 23rd the non-Muslims of village Gol decided to leave their homes on hearing persistent rumours of attacks on the neighbouring villages. They had gone only a short distance when they were confronted by a mob of Armed Muslims accompanied by some policemen and military soldiers. They ran back to village and took shelter in the house of Chaudhary Raghbir Singh Zaildar of village Gol, District Sialkot. The house was surrounded by the Muslims. Many people were killed and injured.
After the partition of the Punjab, communal disturbances were reported all over in the villages around Toba Tek Singh. Toba Tek Singh formed part of a disputed district under the Radcliff arbitration. In Chak No. 31 and 33 near Toba Tek Singh 600 non-Muslims were reportedly killed by Muslim mob on 3rd September, 1947. On the 5th September, 1947 a mob of Muslims began gathering in Chamra Mandi. They then attacked the town and indulged in wholesale loot and mass slaughter. In this slaughter Hindus were sometimes spared on their entreaties but Sikhs were hunted over from house to house and killed.13 On 6th of September, 1947 a convoy of about 4,000 Hindus and Sikhs from some of the Chaks reached Toba Tek Singh. This convoy was accosted by mob of Muslims in the company of men of Balouch regiment. The Muslim Military helped the mob to lift away over 50 young girls from this convoy. The same night, the train accordingly left Toba Tek Singh with about 4,000 non-Muslims. The train was stopped at the railway station and there was a mob of Muslims armed with revolvers, swords and kulharees and they boarded the train. About 3,000 Hindus and Sikhs were done to death. In district Lyallpur 200 were killed in Chak No. 58.
Muslim mob accompanied by officers attacked Sikhs at Toba Tek Singh, hacked their dead bodies to pieces and got them thrown-out by sweepers for the vultures and crows to eat, while women were forcibly carried away. Jehlum Tehsil most, practically all Hindu and Sikh population was put to death, only few managed to escaped.
Violence in East Punjab
On August 15, 1947, as India celebrated its independence, nearly ten million Punjabis were at each other's throats. In East Punjab, the Muslim police was disbanded and the Muslims left to the mercy of marauding bands of Sikhs and Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sang militia. Sikh violence attained its peak in September 1947.
In fact, the situation deteriorated during the first week of May. As well as at Dera Ismail Khan, damage to property amounting to millions of refugees was reported from other parts of the province, in particular at Bannu and Tank. Bitter hatred was laid up by massacres, forcible conversions and atrocities. The Punjab remained in a disturbed state during whole month of May. On 8th May there was a recrudescence of communal trouble in Amritsar, which lasted for two days and resulted in at least fourteen fatal causalities. Curfew was imposed on a large area of the city.20 July 1947, began on a deceptive note of calm, as the peace initiative launched in the last week of June in Lahore was echoed elsewhere and peace committees were set up. On 1st July a Central Peace Committee was formed in Amritsar.
Political leaders - Muslim, Hindu and Sikh leaders delivered speeches emphasizing the need to maintain communal peace and harmony. It was also decided that peace committees should be formed even at the mohalla level.
Intelligence reports noted that Sikhs were organizing in the eastern districts and arming themselves for civil war in the event that the boundary in the Punjab did not match their expectations. Beginning in the second week of July, Sikh gangs in the Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts began to roams the countryside and create serious menance in the lives of Muslims. Hoshiarpur district had been reporting skirmishes in the town and in some villages but the situation deteriorated rapidly when Sikhs armed with rifles, grenades and kirpans assaulted pathan workers, killing many of them. This was repeated in many places in that district. Meanwhile in Gujrawala, Muslims were blamed for starting fires and killing Hindus and Sikhs.
In the East Punjab, the Sikh mobs attacked almost every Muslim village, killed a large number of Muslims and harried the columns of Muslim refugees. At places like Dasua, District Hoshiarpur, where the Muslims were in majority. There were open fights between the hostile mobs. The first shot was fired in the Patiala state where the reign of terror prevailed till September 6, 1947. Muslims took refuge in Bahadurgarh fort numbering 23,000. Nearly 14,000 Muslims had been butchered in the Patiala State.
Sikhs had raided Muslim villages near Philaur, Jullundur District in which fourteen Muslims were killed and thirteen were injured. Eight other rural murders were reported, four inside Kapurthala state near Jullundur cantonment and four near Phillaur. Situation in Amritsar, Jullundur and Hoshiarpur rural areas was most unsatisfactory. Patrolling by Boundary Force was intensified and special measures were taken to protect trains. Amritsar city reported one Muslim shot by Sikhs and two bomb explosions injured eight Muslims including three women and three children.25 In Amritsar rural areas Sikhs raided a village near Ajnala on the night of July 30th and 31st. Causalities were one Sikh, two Muslims killed and twenty four injured.
Amritsar reports are not clear but the city was seriously disturbed with several stabbings and bomb explosions. Amritsar rural area reported that two villages were raided by Sikhs. Seven Muslims and one Hindu were killed and several were injured. Village raids were only averted by arrival of troops and police in August. A bomb was thrown into train near Majitha. Causalities were four Muslims killed with three injured.
In a detailed memorandum to Lord Mountbatten dated 4 August, 1947 Evan Jenkins (Governor of Punjab), questioned the charge that his government had failed to control the Punjab disturbances. On the fateful day of September 25th, situation in the East Punjab worsened once again. From Alwar state 45,000 Muslim started their journey to Lahore by train. On the way, 3,000 Muslims were mercilessly killed. Police Station Khanna near Ludhiana was attacked by a gang of 20 rioters at midnight, two persons were killed and six injured.
On the whole police dealt with 502 cases of rioting during the year 1948 as compared to 354 in 1947, an increase of 148 cases. The most noticeable increase was in Gurdaspur, Karnal, Ludhiana, Rohtak and Hissar.
This shows that situation was gradually deteriorating. In rural areas of Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Jullundur both casual attacks and organized raids in most of which Sikhs were aggressors and Muslims were victims was reported. In one village of Gurdaspur seventeen Muslims were killed and nine injured. Gujrawala reported three Hindus stabbed, and one case of arson. Hoshiarpur reported one Muslim injured by bomb explosion and three Muslims killed while another injured in village raid.
Amritsar City and district reported 25 Muslims and 7 Sikhs killed and 10 Muslims and 3 Sikhs injured on August, 1947. Of Muslims 24 were killed and 10 injured in slaughter of an unescorted party of refugees. One Muslim and 4 Sikhs were killed by troops. Gurdaspur reported several persons killed near Batala. In Sialkot two Muslims were killed, 7 Sikh were injured. In Ambala a total of 7 persons were killed and 11 injured.
On 1st September, at Ambala, Sikhs had 'an orgy of killing'. A train was attacked, out of 200 only 17 were left alive. Holes caused by Brengun bursts were visible on all coaches. It was alleged that the massacre was carried out by the Patiala Sikhs. A train was attacked on 2nd September, out of which 25 corpses were recovered from a nale by sabji mandi police near Delhi. A Muslim and his wife and child were stabbed by a Sikh while 5 or 6 other accomplices stoned them.
The Muslims were also reported to arming themselves. The Muslims in the vicinity of Shah Abdul Salam's Haveli at Ambala collected and discussed the situation and had decided to collect funds to enlist youngmen to protect them and their mohalas. About 70 Muslims assembled in Himalayat-ul-Islam orphanage in Chawari Bazar to consider means of protecting themselves.
In the year 1947, nearly one million men, women and children were murdered in the Punjab and Kashmir state by Hindus and Sikhs. Some were murdered in Delhi and other parts of India. Five million of those who escaped these genocidal massacres were chased out of their homes and dispossessed of their lands, their household goods, their ploughs and their cattle found refugee in Pakistan. Similar scene was taking place on the other side in West Punjab.