An account of Lahore riots is given by the special correspondent of “The Hindustan Times” in these words:
Complete lawlessness prevailed in the walled city, on the other side of the Circular Road. Starting from Railway Road, running along the circular Road in a remarkable continuity. One could see semi-circle of smoke which persisted throughout this period and has involved the entire old city. Numerous places of worship belonging to Hindus and Sikhs have been burnt, of which one finds no record in the daily papers. Coming to the loss of human lives, I am afraid I cannot put a definite figure. I have a solid example which gives me a pretty good idea of the rate of killings. I have followed these details with scientific leanings On the 13th I happened to visit Mayo Hospital. Outside the mortuary, which must apparently be full, I saw 300 to 350 stiffs, dumped in various lanes leading to the mortuary I waited for the papers next morning wanting to know the figures of killed given by them. I got a pretty good idea when I found them giving the news as 40 killed and 100 injured. I fixed up a scale to calculate the actual casualty figures from those given in the papers. During this period, not a single day passed when we did not see three or four lorry loads of stiffs crossing our house.
“The lawlessness there was so official as you probably would not believe. The military actually helped the murderers. The people trying to escape out of the burning houses were mercilessly shot, and their bodies were roasted. The Lahore Station was for days beyond the reach of Hindus and Sikhs. No ignorant person who left for the Station survived. A Tribune employee staying with us met the same fate. It was a perfect picture of lawlessness. We had the greatest difficulty in escaping out of Lahore, via the Lahore Cantonment Station. In fact that is the only way out for the victims.
“In short, Lahore is the city of the dead and a complete picture of hell. Those in charge of this hell are so perfect in their jobs and carry out the various items of their jobs with efficiency which is unprecedented.”
In dozens of places in Hindu and Sikh houses this kind of action was repeated: A group of Muslims would force open the door of a Hindu or Sikh house, no matter even though the curfew would be on. The men-folk would be led out under the pretence of interrogation by some policeman who would be in the party. Outside the men would be stabbed to death. Then the property would be systematically looted. The women were killed if they happened to be old. The younger women were abducted and raped. In the Mozang area, a Sikh family of six or seven men and as many women met such a fate. The men were led out and killed. The women jumped down from the upper store of their house to escape dishonour. They were seriously injured, though none died. But the experience was widespread.
When freedom dawned on India and Pakistan on the 15th of August, 1947 no one on either side of the border had any heart in the Punjab for joy and celebrations. In New Delhi and Karachi this freedom was inaugurated, but in the Punjab every heart was dejected and sad, owing to news brought by refugees of killings and destruction. The Sikhs everywhere spent the day in prayer and contemplation of the sufferings of their brethern and asking of the Akal Purkh for His Succour for those who were entrapped.
According to a press report on the 13th August 35 fires blazed in Lahore, during the day. The localities seriously affected were Mohalla Sarin, Chowk Surjan Singh, Shahi Mohalla. Mohalla Sathan (inside Bhati Gate), Garhi Shahu, Mozang and Faiz Bagh area,…… in Chowk Surjan Singh, the fire-fighting personnel was fired upon by unknown assailant… Twenty-two persons were killed and 25 injured by fire in Sadar Bazar in the Cantonment. Twenty-two persons were killed and 16 others injured ill knife attacks during the day. Three persons were killed oil the Grand Trunk Road near the Hide Market in the Faiz Bagh area in the morning. Five others were assaulted in the same locality. Three persons were fatally stabbed oil Akram Road in Sultanpura, a suburb of the city. Two more persons were killed in Bharatnagar in the same locality.”
The Hindustan Times summed up the Lahore situation of the same day as:
“Lahore, August 3-Sixty people are reported to have been killed and 100 injured in today’s incidents in and around the walled city. Thirty-five persons were killed in stray assaults in the Mogalpura Railway Workshop and eight injured. About a dozen person were killed in an engagement between the raiders and the inmates of a place of worship near the Fort1. The police opened fire killing seven and injuring eight.
“Most of the sectors ill the walled city are oil fire and burning fiercely. Huge tongues of fires are visible from Anarkali where 20 shops have been gutted, Empress Road, Shahi Mohalla, Chhota Ravi, the Lower Mall, Kucha Kamboan, Bhaion Ka Maidan and Mohalla Jalotian.
“A serious fire is burning unchecked in Bharat Nagar where a large number of houses have been destroyed. Owing to difficulty in water supply the fire brigade was unable to function in the locality.
“Troops and police fired rounds during the night to scare the rioters. A number of cases of arson have also been reported from the locality and from Badami Bagh and Landa Bazar.
“At 1 P.m. the casualty figure was six killed and 5 injured.
“The situation took a turn for the worse in the afternoon when some workers were attacked in the railway workshops after the lunch interval.
“Two persons were stabbed near Lohari police-Station in the afternoon while another person was attacked in Lange Mandi.
“A mob attacked Singhpura, a suburban part of the city, last night and set fire to houses. The residents opened fire on the miscreants and in the meantime troops reached the spot and returned the fire, killing two persons.
“Two mobs collected in Gobindgarh, a suburb, last night and exchanged fire, resulting in the death of two persons.
“A big building was set on fire in Dabbi Bazar. Huge columns of smoke which have covered the whole city are visible from a distance.
“At 4 P.m. the casualty figure had risen to 41 killed and 18 injured. Three of the dead bore bullet wounds whilst the others were victims of stabbings.
“Two shops were set ablaze in Anarkali in the afternoon. One person was killed on Ravi Road while another was murdered on the Mall near the General Post Office. Another person was assaulted near a cinema house on the Mall.
“Two houses were set on fire in Shah Safdar Mali in Gowalmandi area. The police opened fire to scare away the miscreants.”