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Monday, June 8, 2020

How Master Tara Singh flamed riots in Amritsar on 4 March 1947



Amritsar was the second largest city of United Punjab after Lahore before partition. The Muslim population in this city was forty-five percent. On March 3 1947, while watching the clear destination of Pakistan for the Muslims, Akali leader Master Tara Singh stood on the steps of the Punjab Assembly in Lahore, brandished a naked sword and chanted the slogan "Raj Karega Khalsa". Malik Wazir Ahmed, a member of the assembly from Mochi Gate Lahore and other Muslim League activists came forward to respond to his provocation, but with the intervention of some people, the matter was settled. But the very next day on 4th of March 1947 the Akalis of Amritsar, under a well-thought-out plan, announced the following slogans in various squares of Amritsar.
                                        “Jo Mange Ga Pakistan
                                          Is ko Dein Ge Kabristan
                                          Nahi Bune Ga Pakistan
                                          Bun kr Rhe ga Sikhistan”
Shouting such slogans, the caravan of Sikhs reached Gol Hatti Chowk of Hal Bazaar and gathered the people. A Sikh gave a speech and a Sikh shopkeeper of Gol Hatti thrown swords towards the Akalis. The Muslims of Ram Bagh and Bijliwala Chowk in the Bazaar started chanting slogans in favor of Pakistan after hearing anti-Pakistan slogans. Hearing this, the Sikh Akalis attacked them with swords and there was a commotion in the bazaar. The Muslims fought with bricks and stones, the police came and the bazaar was closed. Meanwhile, news spread that Sikhs had killed seven Muslims in the fountain square and cut off the hands of a Muslim coachman near the Darbar Sahib. As the news spread, Hindu Mahasabhai thugs killed an unarmed Muslim in Chowk Pasian and captured his body. Seeing this, a Muslim youth came out of Chowk Farid and walked towards them to collect the body from the Mahasabhai thugs. Hindus and Muslims were standing face to face chanting slogans and the body of the martyred Muslim was lying in the middle. Stone pelting started on both sides. Muslims attacked with full force chanting slogans, soda bottles were used from a nearby shop. Frightened by this onslaught, Hindus and Sikhs were forced to retreat. The Muslims picked up the body and started walking towards their area. On the way, they came across some Hindu Sikhs in Chajo Misrwali street.
These young Muslims of Chowk Farid avenged the martyrdom of seven Muslims and cutting off the hands of a Muslim coachman near Darbar Sahib. The bodies of Hindus and Sikhs used in the clash were dumped in a nearby well and some bodies were dumped in a sewer near Bejnath High School.
After that a curfew was imposed all over Amritsar and flames of riots started burning in every street. The Muslims of Ram Bagh set fire to the Sikh shop from which swords were given to the Akali Sikhs. Thus the famous Sikh shops of Amritsar "Gol Hatti" and "Bharawan Di Hatti" were burnt down with goods worth lakhs of rupees. Similarly, Hindus and Sikhs also burned Muslim property in their respective areas and cut off both hands of Wilayat Hussain, a 12-year-old boy near Namak Mandi, now living in Lahore.
This night was too heavy for the Muslims of Amritsar because they were unarmed and had to fight the resourceful and armed Hindu Sikhs. Hindus and Sikhs were fully prepared after the riots in Calcutta and Bihar, while Muslims were not. They then carried out armed attacks in Muslim areas in the following days and inflicted considerable damage. But the Muslims also fought hard against them, which is why the number of Hindu Sikhs killed in the riots in Amritsar city was higher than the number of Muslims until 14th of August 1947 when the partition was declared  but after the partition, the Muslim women, children, Elderly people were brutally massacred in Amritsar. Master Tara Singh was responsible for all these massacres, which spoiled the peaceful atmosphere of Punjab and created riots, which led to hatred among communities and the loss of millions of innocent lives. The Muslims got Pakistan with these immense sacrifices but nothing came in the hands of Master Tara Singh.

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