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COMMUNAL SITUATION IN SINDH (1937-1947) AS RECORDED AND REPORTED BY SINDH GOVERNMENT. [Part-1]

 

This research and compilation is based on the ‘secret reports’ sent by the Home Department of the Government of Sindh to the Government of India & Viceroy. Every entry carry the reference at its end. (Dr.Pathan).

1. The communal situation in the Province is now quiet. [ Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 19th May 1937 Fortnightly report for the first half on May 1937].

 

2. Two further incident of 'Quran -burning' occurred at Shikarpur on the 8th and 11th instant but though they caused a certain amount of excitement on distrubances took place. [ Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 19th May 1937 Fortnightly report for the first half on May 1937].

3. Mild tension was caused between the Hindus and Muslims of Pir-jo-Goth by the conversion of one Hindu- Harpal, aged 21, to Islam at Amrot, taluka Garhi Yasin, but the intervention of the local officers was successful in pacifying the feelings between the two communities. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/38, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 10th June 1938 Fortnightly report for the Second half of May1938].

4. A series of incidents took place at Sultankot, a village near Shikarpur which might have led to a serious clash between Hindus and Muslims of Sultankot and possibly of Shikarpur, On the 25th November, three leaves of the Holy Qur'an were found in a burnt condition under a mat inside the Juma Mosque, when the congregation met for Friday prayers. On the 27th November, the Granth Sahib and another holy book of Hindus was reported to be missing from the Mandir reserved for ladies. On the following day, three leaves of the Holy Qur'an were observed by a Muslim barber in a torn condition in the main bazaar. On the 30th November, a Hindu was attacked at night by two Muslims, while he was returning home from the railway station. Fortunately, the injury was not serious. Both Hindus and Muslims of Sultankot were greatly agitated over these incidents, but the prompt measures taken by the local officers helped to pacify the feelings of both the communities, and prevented the situation from becoming serious. The reports regarding these incidents caused a stir at Shikarpur, where a grave riot had taken place last year in similar circumstances, but the Honourable the Chief Minister, who happened to be there time, immediately met the local leaders and exerted his personal influence in preserving peace and preventing panic among the people Some local bad characters are suspected and the Police investigation is in progress. In the mean while, adequate measures have been taken at both the place to maintain law and order. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/38, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 5th December 1938 Fortnightly report for the Second half of November 1938].

 5. The trouble in connection with the demolition of  a Hindu temple, mentioned in the last report, subsided on a satisfactory settlement being reached between Government and Hindu leaders. Communal tension, however, has not yet abated owing to intensified agitation for the restoration to the Muslims of the Manzilgah building at Sukkur. 'Manzilgah Day' was observed on the 18th August according to schedule and threats were held out of resort to Satyagraha and civil disobedience and also to a campaign for the overthrow of the present Ministry. A sum of about Rs.2,400 was collected for the furtherance of the agitation and the seriousness of the position compelled the District Magistrate, Sukkur, to issue an order under section 144, Criminal Procedure Code. At the intervention of Government, however, the order was withdrawn and it was hoped that issue of an official statement to the Press that Government were giving the matter full consideration would prevent the threats of Satyagraha,  etc. from taking concrete shape.  Negotiation between Government and the leaders of the agitation has precipitation the crises and that section 144, Criminal Procedure Code, has been re-promulgated. The situation, however, is in hand and will be described further in my next report. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 2nd October February  1939 Fortnightly report for the Second half of August/First half of September 1939].

 

6.  Sukkur was the cemmunal trouble as a result of an assault by some Hindus on a Muslim named Abdul Rahim son of the Rir of Bharchundi. The cause of the assault is said to be discontent because of the conversion to Islam of Hindus by Abdul Rahim, but communal ill-feeling has been smouldering for sometime between the two communities as a result of the activities of the local Muslim League which of late seems to be bent on inciting communal hatred. The Muslims and particularly the Pir's followed are greatly agitated over the incident, and the Hindus feel nervous as the followers of the Pir, who are alleged to be a fanatical sect, are supposed to have sworn vengeance. A complaint has been registered and is under investigation by the local police. The situation is at present quiet but an under- current of communal tension still prevails beneath an apparent calm. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 2nd August1939 Fortnightly report for the Second half of July 1939].

7. Feeling on account of the Sukkur Manzilgah affair continued to be fostered by foul propaganda in the press. An anti-British tone is also apparent in some newspapers. The Provincial Press Adviser warned several newspapers for publishing matters contravening the provisions of the various press notices. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 17th October 1939 Fortnightly report for the First half of October 1939].  

8. The Muslim and Hindu Press in Sind continue to fan the flames of communalism by publishing articles likely to excite communal feelings. Hindu for instance started wild rumours that Muslims were disintering the bones of the dead from grave yards and were reburying them within the precincts of the Manzilgah while. Muslim papers appealed to their brethren not buy food from Hindu shops as a Hindu had been caught cooking pork, Agitation carried on in the press by Muslims characterises the Hindus as narrow-minded, cowardly and mean. One paper goes on to say " the Hindus should use their own commonsense and realize that eventually they have to live in Sind by sucking the blood of Muslims". According to reports from Sukkur the Hindus are jubilant over the promulgation of the Sind Ordinance. Some Muslim agitators on the contrary consider the Ordinance as a challenge and are inclined to treat it with defiance, while others think that it is a game of blutt and will remain a dead letter. The Pir of Bharchundi is annoyed with Moulvi Abdul Hamid editor of "Alminar" of Sukkur for reporting that the Pir had decided to withdraw himself and his men from the Manzilgah agitation. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 3rd November 1939 Fortnightly report for the Second half of October 1939].

9.The Hindus have further started an agitation against the separation of Sind from Bombay and an attempt is being made to induce the authorities to rescind the order of separation and to reunite the two provinces. They say that they have suffered in the judicial, Public Works, Police and other Government departments in the Judicial, public Works, Police and other Government departments in which the rights of Hindus have been completely ignored although there is a standing order that 50 per cent. of posts are to be given to non-Muslims. Men and money are being collected for propaganda to get Sind reunited with Bombay. As a counter move it is understood that Haji Sir Abdullah Haroon is requesting His Excellency the Viceroy that Sind be joined to the Punjab if as a separate province it cannot stand on its own legs. It is said that Mr. M.A. Jinnah is to accompany Sir Abdullah Haroon on this mission. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 3rd November 1939 Fortnightly report for the Second half of October 1939].  

10. The process of appeasement in Sukkur District has received a setback from two incidents which occurred during the period under report. The first was the remarkable kidnapping of a British Military Officer who had gone for a walk in the forest about three miles from Sukkur. He was assaulted by six persons believed to belong to the Khosa tribe, who relieved him of his shot gun and a gold ring and carried him some sixteen miles into the interior before he could make his escape. After wandering about for the best part of twenty-four hours, he was retrieved by a search party and returned to Sukkur. The other incident occurred on January 11th, when a party consisting of a Hindu forest contractor and two Hindu officials driving in a tonga were fired upon by persons unknown, in a forest area on the East bank of the river. The tonga driver and one of the officials were killed and the other two wounded. On this occasion also a shot gun, which was being carried by the contractor, was stolen. These incidents, though isolated, are likely to delay the return of the Hindu population to their village homes. The investigation of cases is proceeding vigorously, and it is believed that some seven hundred persons have been arrested though what kind of evidence will be available against such large gangs remains to be seen. It is proposed to introduce a Bill in the next session of the Assembly extending the system of trial by Jirga to Sukkur District. A Police Sub-Inspector, whose negligence is alleged to have contributed to the murder of a number of Hindu living in his beat, has been suspended. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 18th January 1940 Fortnightly report for the First half of January 1940].

11. The liberal grant of gun licences, though necessary for the protection of the Hindus village population, increases the risk of theft of these weapons, and is no doubt a source of temptation to bad characters: thus in Naushahro Taluka in the Nawabshah District a bania's shop was looted at dusk and his gun was stolen. The offenders were promptly arrested by the police and in addition to the gun which was stolen another gun was also seized. On the other hand some Panchayats feel nervous of employing Muslim chwkidars, and having no reliable guards of their own have not made use of the gun licences granted to them. Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 4th March 1940 Fortnightly report for the Second half of February 1940].

12. A private meeting of the Hindu Assembly members and other Hindus leaders was held in Karachi, when the question of starting a Hindu Military College in Sind was discussed . Two Committee (1) the Education Committee and (2) he Fund Collection Committee, were formed. Donations amounting to Rs. 9,000 were promised at the meeting. This seems to be independent of the School at Sukkur referred to in paragraph 21 of my last report. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 4th March 1940 Fortnightly report for the Second half of February 1940].

13. The Hindu Panchayats are busy forming volunteer corps for their protection. It has been reported that about 250 Hindu volunteers were seen on night patrols in Hyderabad. At a private meeting of the District Satyagraha Committee, Mirpurkhas, held on the 17th July, it was decided from a District Volunteer Dal with Mirpurkhas as its headquarters. A volunteer crops is also being formed at Digri in Thar Parkar district. The matters is under the consideration of Government. Aprivate meeting of prominent Harijan workers was held at Hyderabad by the Sind Provincial Harijan Shevak Sangh. It was decided to appoint additional organizers and propaganda workers and to secure employment for the Harijans. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 5th August 1940 Fortnightly report for the Second half of July 1940].

 

14. Reference paragraph 9 of the report for the first fortnight in the month, enquiries are being made as to the exact number of people who have recently migrated from Sind. The District Superintendent of Police, Sukkur, reports that 4,000 Hindus have left Sukkur for Jodhpur, Hardwar, Jaipur, Bikanir and elsewhere. The District Superintendent of Police, Upper Sind Frontier, reports that about 375 persons have left his district. Enquiries are being made from other Superintendent of Police. Steps are being taken in all districts a special police for the Sukkur district consisting of 12 Sub-Inspectors. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 5th August 1940 Fortnightly report for the Second half of July 1940].   

 

15.A notorious criminal, Bhai Khan Khoso, has been recently arrested in Sukkur. He was wanted for a numbers of crimes, including murders and dacoities. He will now stand his trial for murder. Considerable feeling of insecurity still prevails in the minds of the Hindus of the province and the news of any fresh incident throes the Hindu population into a state of nervousness. There have been two dacoities during the fortnight. One was at Kot Lalu on the borders of Nawabshah district and Khairpur State. The dacoit concerned, a well known criminal named Mazahar, defied the Police for some hours before he was finally captured after being badly wounded. The other was at the village Mori MAngir, Hyderabad district, where three dacoits killed a Hindu Seth with a hatchet and shot his wife. [Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S) 40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 20th August 1940. Fortnightly Report for the first half of August 1940].

16.The vernacular Hindu newspapers have been bitterly complaining of the insecurity prevailing in Sind. They blame the authorities for not taking proper steps against the unruly elements in the province. The “Hindu”, writing under the caption “What does the Sind Government propose to do?”, remarks that conditions in Sind have become very serious. Disquieting reports are received from every part of the province, but no vigorous action is being taken. It deplores that in spite of the abnormal conditions prevailing in the province, only 200 extra policemen have been recruited. The Hon’ble Premier called a conference of all the District Supperitendents of Police, which was also attended by the Hon’ble Ministers, the Chief Secretary and the Inspector-General of Police, in order to discuss the situation and to devise means of improving it. [Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S) 40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 22nd July1940. Fortnightly Report for the first half of July 1940].

17. Communal relations continue to be stramed. The assault on Seth Khubomal in Sukkur district created considerable alarm and resentment in the minds of the Hindus. The “Sujagi,” under the caption “What does the murderous assault on Seth Khubomal show?”, remarks: “The recent murderous assault on Seth Khubomal shown that the Muslim of Sind have become emboldened. If Government desires that there should be peace and order in Sind, it should deal drastically with perpetrators of such crimes. If however, Government does nothing in the matter, the Hindus should either rely on themselves or migrate from Sind”. The “Qurbani” under the caption “ Goonda Act” remarks that riots occurred in Sukkur as result of the weak policy of the former Government. The crime is on the increase. The Pir of Bharchundi has a hand in the assault of Seth Kunwar Ram, and it rests with Government to take action against him. The same paper writing under the caption “Why this exodus?” remarks “The news come from Shikarpur that many people are leaving Shikarpur and going out of Sind. The result of this step on their part which is inspired by false alarm will prove suicide not only for the people of Shikarpur, but for the People of the mofussil the as well”. Concluding the paper appeals to the Hindus of Shikarpur to abandon the idea of migrating to other places and to arrange for the defence of their town.[Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S) 40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 22nd July1940. Fortnightly Report for the first half of July 1940].

18. It appears that the reports of reports of the migration of Hindus may be somewhat exaggerated but it is true that certain rich Hindu families from Shikarpur, Tatta and elsewhere have gone to Hardwar and Rajputana. One of the Honourable Rao Sahib Gokaldas gives the figures of refugees form Shikarpur as 15,000. Effoerts will be made to get an approximately correct figure before the next fortnightly report is sent.[Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S) 40.Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 22nd July1940. Fortnightly Report for the first half of July 1940].

19.  The Hindus who migrated from Miro Khan taluka in Larkana District have returned to their respective Villages with their families. Most of the local agitators being at Karachi making and unmaking Ministries, Sukkur District is comparatively quiet, through the evil effects of the disturbances have not abated. At- Garhi Yasin, a taluka town, a village inferior servant was hacked to pieces almost within sight of an officer's camp. Some houses of Muslim Zamindars and others were burnt within Rohri town, it being suspected that this was due to communal tension. Elsewhere in the Province there has been a general calm, the fear of Hindus for their lives being now somewhat reduced, and conditions appear to be normal. Even the clamour for gun licences has almost subsided. With good prospects of an excellent wheat harvest, agriculturists have ceased to grumble.[Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S)/40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 2nd  February 1940. Fortnightly Report for the Second half of January 1940].

20. There are indications that communal relations in Sukkur have worsened during the few days. The convictions in some of the riot cases and the evidence before the Court of Enquiry have aggravated communal animosity, and the old question is again being asked, wgich community is to blame for the riots? Some leaders are anxious to facilitate a settlement by withdrawing witnesses of both the communities from the enquiry. The Muslims however feel that it would not be in their interest to withdraw at this stage when the Hindu case has been fully represented.[Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 21st June  1940 Fortnightly report for the first half on June 1940].

21. There has been no incident of note during the period under report, but there is no doubt that the feeling engendered by the Manzilgah dispute is still well in evidence. [Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S)/40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 5th  December 1940. Fortnightly Report for the Second half of November 1940].

22. More violent crime against Hindus in the Sukkur District took place during the fortnight. Four dacoits attacked the village of Sumar in the evening of the 5th November, killed one Hindu and injured four others and then decamped with a horse and some money. One of the dacoits however, was apparently injured by a Hindu with the result that the marauders were constrained to travel by train in an endeavour to escape with their wounded comrade. This led to a disclosure of their identity and two of the suspects were apprehended and four guns and 150 rounds of ammunition secured. Investigation are still proceeding. [Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S)/40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 21th  November 1940. Fortnightly Report for the First half of November 1940].

23. There was also an attempt in the upper Sind Frontier District to murder two Hindu. Two Hindus. Two persons were arrested in this connection and a country-made dun and a 20 bore gun were secured from their possession. [Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S)/40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 21th  November 1940. Fortnightly Report for the First half of November 1940].

24. There has been a further outbreak of communal murders in the Sukkur District. The most serious took place in a village named Jahanpur which is - situated in forest near the river INdus and which is mainly inhabited by Hindus. Here in the early morning of the 22nd October a party of 10 to 12 persons entered the village, surprised and overpowered the two armed constables there and having seized their weapons and 20 rounds of ammunition, walked through the main street shooting at any Hindu they saw. Eight Hindu were killed and five were wounded. The two constables managed to secure shot guns from the villagers and exchanged shorts with the riders. They were, however, out-ranged as they could only procure cartridges with small shot and were both wounded. The raiders made good their escape without taking any property. A tracking party followed their footprints along the edge of the forest towards the Bahawalpur State. It is suspected that the culprits are either from the Upper Sind Frontier District or the Bahawalpur State and that they perpetrated the murders as a reprisal for the arrest of the Pir of Bharachundi. The Jahanpur murders were followed by a murderous attack on a Hindu in Kashmore Taluka of the Upper Sind Frontier District on the 23rd October, the murder of a Hindu with hatchets near Khanpur in Sukkur District on the27th October, and the shooting of two Hindus near Mirpur-Mathelo on the 29th October, out of whom one has since died. All possible steps to apprehend the culprits are being taken and two men have been arrested for the assault in the Upper Sind Frontier District.[Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S)/40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 6th  November 1940. Fortnightly Report for the Second half of October 1940].

25.  An organization known as the Khudai Khidmatgar hasbeen formed in Karachi to bring about Hindu- Muslim unity. At Hyderabad a public meeting was held as a Hindu-Muslim unity drive and was attended by two Minister of Government, the Hon'ble Mr.Shaikh Abdul Majid and the Hon'ble Rai Sahib Gokaldas Mewaldas, and also the Speaker of the Assembly, the Hon'ble Sayed Miram Muhammad Shah. It was decided that Unity Boards should be started in all towns and villages with a Central Board at Karachi and that intensive propaganda should be carried on to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity. [Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S)/40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 7th  October 1940. Fortnightly Report for the Second half of September 1940].

26. Reference paragraph 7 of the report for the second half of July further enquire show that 500 Hindu left Larkana district for places outside Sind. Only three families of Hindus consisting of about twenty-four persons left Thar Parker district and migrated to Jouhpur. No migration is reported from Dadu, Nawabshah and Karachi districts. It appears tat most of the persons who left their homes are now returning. [Source Government of Sind Home Department (Special) No. P-25-H(S)/40. Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 3rd  September 1940. Fortnightly Report for the Second half of August 1940].

27.  A Village Volunteer Crops has been formed at a village in Hyderabad district. At a meeting of the Sind Village Workers’. Association  at Hyderabad, Professor N.R. Malkani appealed to the people to promote village industries. He also visited Kandhkot in the Upper Sind Frontier district, where he urged the revival industries and encouragement of village volunteer crops: Street propaganda was carried on in Jacobabad on behalf of the District Village Volunteer Crops, in which the aims and object of the Crops and the significance of “fouji” parades were explained. A speaker suggested that the object of this Crops was to drive away the English as they were mischievous and had caused communal disturbances in Sukkur district, resulting in the loss of life and property to Indians. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 19th March 1940 Fortnightly report for the first half of March 1940].

 

Part :2

 

1.Relations continue to be satisfactory. "Prophet" Day was observed in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, when processions were carried and, speeches on the life of the Prophet were made. In Karachi prominent Hindu leaders also participated in the function. [Source No. P-25-h(s)/37, Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 3rd May 1941 Fortnightly report for the Second half of April 1941].

2. Communal relations continue to be satisfactory. The speeches delivered at the Sultankot conference led to considerable present in the Hindu Press, notably in the "Sind Observer", which printed a leading article the nature of which is not justified by the reports so far received of the meeting. [Source Government of Sin. Home Department (Special), Sind Secretariat, Karachi, 4th June 1941. Fortnightly report for the Second half of May 1941]

 

 

 

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