Excerpt from Anita Rani's BBC documentary on the massacre and mass abduction of women in Chak 47 in Montgomery (now Sahiwal):
My own journey of discovery started two years ago, when I learned that while my grandfather was serving in the British Indian Army near Pune, miles from Punjab where his family lived, all of them - his father, wife and two children (as it turned out) - died. Nobody knew exactly what had happened to my grandfather’s wife, Pritam Kaur, her son Raj, and six-year-old daughter Mahrinda, whose existence I had never even known about. It was likely, I was told, that the son was slaughtered alongside my great-grandfather, and that Pritam joined thousands of Indian women who jumped into the village well with their daughters to avoid being raped, murdered or abducted.
The story I learned from speaking to people here was painful, and far more brutal than I’d ever realised. The village (Chak 47 in Montgomery) at the time was predominantly Muslim, and when Partition was decreed, the Muslim villagers grouped together to attack the Sikhs and Hindus. When the fighting broke out, 1,500 Sikhs and Hindus barricaded themselves in a house owned by a wealthy Sikh man in a neighbouring village. There was a three day stand-off but eventually, all were slaughtered.
- Anita Rani