My Memories of 1947 – Part – 6

Later, what the young man and old lady told us is: “The scattered Muslims in Hindu areas of Jammu city had been mostly killed by Hindus. Only very few lucky ones shifted to Muslim areas. The two Muslim areas where we and Asghar Khan (later to become Pakistan’s air force chief) lived became under siege of Sevak Sang, Mahasabha, Akali Dal and Indian army. Indian army had taken positions on top of high buildings around our home area. They fired on any Muslim coming in sight and kept on firing bursts with pauses. Muslims in Jammu city had no weapons after the search so they decided to stay in their houses, their past experience being that such quarrels used to be over in about two weeks. They made holes in common walls of their houses, so that they could move to each other without going out to street. At some points, however, they had to cross a street but surrounding was all Muslim population. It was also to enable exit to Muslim families in case Hindus attacked the houses.

Only few Muslims got killed during 3 weeks’ period. In spite of Indian army cover, Hindus did not dare to come near the Muslim areas. One morning, it was announced, on a loud speaker fitted on a Tonga, “This is a message from Col Peer Muhammad. Pakistan has sent buses to evacuate Muslims to Sialkot. All people desirous of going to Pakistan should gather in the Police Lines.” The Police Lines was on south edge of Jummu city near river Tawi, about 2 kilometers from farthest end of Muslim areas. Though Col (Retd) Peer Muhammad was a leader of National Conference (Congress equivalent) yet people believed in him because he was a Muslim, but that was a trap. Any person, who went to see the place, did not return. If somebody carried baggage, that was snatched on way by the Indian army. All the Muslims, except members of National Conference, reached Police Lines where they saw buses lined up with Pakistan flags on top. On Wednesday, 5th November, 1947 people were asked to board the buses and the first Qafla started off. Second Qafla, starting on Thursday, 6th November, 1947, traveled bypassing Jammu Cantonment. When it reached a forest near canal, the buses were halted. The passengers noticed Indian army at a distance on both sides. They thought it was for their protection. Soon they heard slogans, Jai Hind, Sat Sri Akal. Then appeared hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs carrying swords, Balums and daggers. The rioters passed though the Indian army line and headed towards buses. Seeing this, Muslims started jumping out of the buses. At that moment rifle / machine gun fire was opened by India army on both sides of buses. Men, women and children started running for their life. Many of them jumped in to the canal. While Balums (javelins) / swords / bullets pierced them.”

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